Biblical commentary the Old Testament/Volume V. Greater Prophets/Jeremiah 30-52

Biblical commentary the Old Testament  (1892)  by Franz Delitzsch
Jeremiah 30-52

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B. The Announcement of Deliverance for All Israel - Jeremiah 30-33 Edit

In view of the impending fall of the kingdom of Judah, Jeremiah seeks to present the godly with a strong anchor of hope in the realization of God's gracious promises, which were to be fulfilled after the appointed season of punishment had passed. For this purpose, after predicting the ills of exile times, the prophet gives a comprehensive statement concerning the deliverance which the Lord will vouchsafe to His people in the future, and gathers together the repeated briefer promises regarding the restoration and glorious condition of Israel and Judah, so as to give a full description of the deliverance intended for all the covenant people under the sceptre of the future David. This detailed announcement of the deliverance consists of a pretty long prophetic address (which Hengstenberg very properly designates "the triumphal hymn of Israel's salvation," Jer 30 and 31), and two pieces confirmatory of this address, viz.: (1) one recording a symbolical act performed by the prophet at God's command - the sale of a piece of hereditary property in land during the last siege of Jerusalem, shortly before the breaking up of the kingdom, which commenced with the taking of the city - together with a message from God explaining this act, Jer 32; ; and (2) another passage giving, in prophetic language, a renewed promise that Jerusalem and Judah would be restored with the blissful arrangements connected with the Davidic monarchy and the Levitical priesthood, Jer 33. According to the headings given in Jer 32:1 and Jer 33:1, these two latter pieces belong to the tenth year of Zedekiah's reign;

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the address contained in Jer 30 and 31, on the other hand, belongs to a somewhat earlier period, and was not uttered publicly before the people, but simply composed in writing, and meant to be preserved for future use. As regards the exact time of its composition, the views of modern expositors are very dissimilar. While Hengstenberg, with many others, places it in the same period with the allied chapters 32 and 33, viz., in the time when Jerusalem was being besieged, immediately before the capture and destruction of the city, Nägelsbach reckons this address among the oldest portions of the whole book, and assigns its composition to the times of King Josiah, to which Jer 3:11-25 belongs. But the arguments adduced in support of this view are quite insufficient to establish it. It does not by any means follow from the substantial agreement of the address with that in Jer 3, so far as it exists, that they were both composed at the same time; and if (as Nägelsbach thinks) the fact that there is no mention made of the Chaldeans were taken as a criterion of composition before the fourth year of Jehoiakim, then, too, would the address in Jer 33 be put down as having been composed before that year, but in glaring contradiction to the inscription given Jer 33:1. And as little reason is there for inferring, with Hengstenberg, from Jer 30:5-7, that the final catastrophe of Jeremiah's time is represented as still imminent; for these verses do not refer at all to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans. That learned writer is, however, quite correct in his remark, that the prophet takes his stand-point within the period of the catastrophe, as if it had already begun, but that this time is an ideal present, so that we must not allow ourselves to be deceived as to the time of composition by the circumstance that, generally, Judah no less than Israel appears to be already in a state of exile, far from the land of the Lord. The time of composition cannot be made out with perfect certainty. Yet there is nothing against the assumption that it is the tenth year of Zedekiah.

Israel's Deliverance and Glorious Condition in the Future - Jeremiah 30-31 Edit

A great day of judgment, before which all the world trembles, will bring to Israel deliverance from the yoke imposed on them.

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The Lord will bring them out of the land of their captivity (Jer 30:4-11). He will bind up and heal the wounds which He inflicted on them because of their sins; will render to those who oppressed and chastised them according to their deeds (Jer 30:12-17); will again build up His kingdom, and render His people glorious, both in temporal and spiritual respects (Jer 30:18-22). The wrath of the Lord will be poured forth upon all evil-doers like a tempest, till He has performed the thoughts of His heart at the end of the days (Jer 30:23, Jer 30:24). At that time the Lord will become the God of all the families of Israel, and show them favour as His own people (Jer 31:1-6); He will also gather the remnant of Israel out of the land of the north, lead them back into their inheritance, and make them glad and prosperous through His blessing (Jer 31:7-14); the sorrow of Ephraim will He change to joy, and He will perform a new thing in the land (Jer 31:15-22). In like manner will He restore Judah, and make want to cease (Jer 31:23-26). Israel and Judah shall be raised to new life (Jer 31:27-30), and a new covenant will be made with them, for the Lord will write His law in their heart and forgive their sins (Jer 31:31-34). Israel shall for ever remain the people of God, and Jerusalem be built anew to the honour of the Lord, and, as a holy city, shall no more be laid waste for ever (Jer 31:35-40).
This address forms a united whole which divides into two halves. In Jer 30:4-22 it is the deliverance of Israel in general that is set forth; while in the passage from Jer 30:23 on to the end of Jer 31 it is deliverance, more especially in reference to Israel and Judah, that is portrayed. As there is no doubt about its unity, so neither is there any well-founded doubt regarding its genuineness and integrity. Hence the assertion of Hitzig, that, as a whole, it exhibits such a want of connection, such constant alternation of view-point, so many repetitions, and such irregularity in the structure of the verses, that there seems good ground for suspecting interpolation - such an assertion only shows the inability of the expositor to put himself into the course of thought in the prophetic word, to grasp its contents properly, and to give a fair and unprejudiced estimate of the whole. Hitzig would reject Jer 31:38-40, and Nägelsbach Jer 30:20-24, as later additions, but in neither case

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is this admissible; and Kueper (Jeremias, p. 170ff.) and Graf, in his Commentary, have already so well shown with what little reason Movers and Hitzig have supposed they had discovered so many "interpolations," that, in our exposition, we merely intend to take up in detail some of the chief passages.

Chap. 30 Edit

Verses 1-3 Edit

Introduction, and Statement of the Subject - Jer 30:1. "The word which came to Jeremiah from Jahveh, saying: Jer 30:2. Thus hath Jahveh the God of Israel said: Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book; Jer 30:3. For, behold, days come, saith Jahveh, when I shall turn the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith Jahve, and I shall bring them back to the land which I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it."
Jer 30:1 contains the heading not merely of Jer 30:2 and Jer 30:3, as Hitzig erroneously maintains, but of the whole prophecy, in Jer 30 and 31. Jer 30:2 and Jer 30:3 form the introduction. Jeremiah is to write the following word of God in a book, because it refers to times still future, - regards the deliverance of Israel and Judah from exile, which will not take place till afterwards. In assigning the reason for the command to write down the word of God that had been received, there is at the same time given the subject of the prophecy which follows. From this it is further evident that the expression "all the words which I have spoken to thee" cannot, like Jer 36:2, be referred, with J. D. Michaelis, to the whole of the prophecies which Jeremiah had up till that time received; it merely refers to the following prophecy of deliverance. The perfect דּבּרתּי is thus not a preterite, but only expresses that the address of God to the prophet precedes the writing down of the words he received. As to the expression שׁוּב שׁבוּת, see on Jer 29:14.

Verses 4-11 Edit

Jer 30:4-11The judgment on the nations for the deliverance of Israel. - Jer 30:4. "And these are the words which Jahveh spake concerning Israel and Judah: Jer 30:5. For thus saith Jahveh: We have heard a cry of terror, fear, and no peace. Jer 30:6. Ask now, and see whether a male bears a child? Why do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in childbirth,

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and every face turned to paleness? Jer 30:7. Alas! for that day is great, with none like it, and it is a time of distress for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it. Jer 30:8. And it shall come to pass on that day, saith Jahveh of hosts, that I will break his yoke from upon thy neck, and I will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more put servitude on him; Jer 30:9. But they shall serve Jahveh their God, and David their king, whom I shall raise up to them. Jer 30:10.But fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith Jahveh, neither be confounded, O Israel; for, behold, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and be at rest, and be secure, and there shall be none making him afraid. Jer 30:11.For I am with thee, saith Jahveh, to save thee; for I will make an end of all the nations whither I have scattered thee, yet of thee will I not make an end, but I will chastise thee properly and will not let thee go quite unpunished."
With Jer 30:4 is introduced the description of Israel's restoration announced in Jer 30:3. This introduction is not absolutely necessary, but neither is it for that reason spurious and to be expunged, as Hitzig seeks to do; it rather corresponds to the breadth of Jeremiah's representation. The כּי in Jer 30:5 is explicative: "Thus, namely, hath Jahveh spoken." With the lively dramatic power of a poet, the prophet at once transports the hearers or readers of his prophecy, in thought, into the great day to come, which is to bring deliverance to all Israel. As a day of judgment, it brings terror and anguish on all those who live to see it. קול חרדה, "A voice (sound) of trembling (or terror) we hear," viz., the people, of whom the prophet is one. פּחד does not depend on שׁמענוּ, but forms with ואין שׁלום an independent clause: "There is fear and not peace" (or safety). Jer 30:6. What is the cause of this great horror, which makes all men, from convulsive pains, hold their hands on their loins, so as to support their bowels, in which they feel the pangs, and which makes every countenance pale? In Jer 30:7 the cause of this horror is declared. It is the great day of judgment that is coming. "That (not hits) day" points to the future, and thus, even apart from other reasons, excludes the supposition that it is the day of the destruction of Jerusalem that is

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meant. The words "that day is great" refer to Joe 2:11, and "there is none like it" is an imitation of Joe 2:2; in the latter passage the prophet makes use of a judgment which he had seen passed on Judah - its devastation by locusts - and for the first time presents, as the main element in his prophecy, the idea of the great day of judgment to come on all nations, and by which the Lord will perfect His kingdom on this earth. This day is for Jacob also, i.e., for all Israel, a time of distress; for the judgment falls not merely on the heathen nations, but also on the godless members of the covenant people, that they may be destroyed from among the congregation of the Lord. The judgment is therefore for Israel as well as for other nations a critical juncture, from which the Israel of God, the community of the faithful, will be delivered. This deliverance is described more in detail in Jer 30:8. The Lord will break the yoke imposed on Israel, free His people from all bondage to strangers, i.e., the heathen, so that they may serve only Him, the Lord, and David, His king, whom He will raise up. The suffix in עלּו is referred by several expositors (Hitzig, Nägelsbach) to the king of Babylon, "as having been most clearly before the minds of Jeremiah and his contemporaries;" in support of this view we are pointed to Isa 10:27, as a passage which may have been before the eyes of Jeremiah. But neither this parallel passage nor צוּארך (with the suffix of the second person), which immediately follows, sufficiently justifies this view. For, in the second half also of the verse, the second person is interchanged with the third, and מוסרותיך, which is parallel with עלּו, requires us to refer the suffix in the latter word to Jacob, so that "his yoke" means "the yoke laid on him," as in 1Ki 12:4; Isa 9:3. It is also to be borne in mind that, throughout the whole prophecy, neither Babylon nor the king of Babylon is once mentioned; and that the judgment described in these verses cannot possibly be restricted to the downfall of the Babylonian monarchy, but is the judgment that is to fall upon all nations (Jer 30:11). And although this judgment begins with the fall of the Babylonian supremacy, it will bring deliverance to the people of God, not merely from the yoke of Babylon, but from every yoke which strangers have laid or will lay on them.

Verse 9 Edit

Then Israel

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will no longer serve strangers, i.e., foreign rulers who are heathens, but their God Jahveh, and David the king who will be raised up to them, i.e., the Messiah, the righteous sprout that Jahveh will raise up to David; cf. Jer 23:5. The designation of this sprout as "David their king," i.e., the king of the Israelites, points us back to Hos 3:5.

Verses 10-11 Edit

Israel the servant of Jahveh, i.e., the true Israel, faithful and devoted to God, need thus fear nothing, since their God will deliver them from the land of their captivity, and stand by them as their deliverer, so that they shall be able to dwell in peace and undisturbed security in their own land. For Jahveh will make a complete end of all the nations among whom Israel has been scattered; Israel, on the other hand, He shall certainly chastise, but למּשׁפּט (according to what is right, in due measure), that they may be made better by their punishment. As to the expression יסּר למּשׁפּט, see on Jer 10:24; for לא עשׂה כלה, see on Jer 4:27 and Jer 5:18 (אתך for אתּך, Jer 5:18); and lastly, on נקּה לא אנקּך, cf. Ex. 34:47, Num 14:18, Nah 1:3.
Jer 30:10 and Jer 30:11 are repeated in Jer 46:27-28, though with some slight changes.[1]

Verses 12-17 Edit

Jer 30:12-17Because Israel has been severely chastised for his sins, the Lord will now punish his enemies, and heal Israel. - Jer 30:12."For thus saith Jahveh: It is ill with thy bruise, thy wound is painful. Jer 30:13.There is none to judge thy cause; for a sore, healing-plaster there is none for thee. Jer 30:14.All thy lovers have forgotten thee, thee they seek not; for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, the chastisement of a cruel one, because of the multitude of thine iniquity, [because] thy sins were numerous. Jer 30:15. Why

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criest thou over thy bruise  - [because] thy wound is bad? Because of the multitude of thine iniquity, [because] thy sins were numerous, have I done these things to thee. Jer 30:16.Therefore all those who devour thee shall be devoured; and all thine oppressors, they shall all go into captivity; and they who spoiled thee shall become a spoil, and those that plundered thee I will give up for plunder. Jer 30:17.For I will put a plaster on thee, and will heal thee of thy wounds, saith Jahveh; for they call thee an outcast, [and say], Zion is she [whom] none seeketh after."
This strophe is only a fuller expression of the idea set forth in Jer 30:11, that the Lord certainly chastises Israel, but will not make an end of him. The chastisement has commenced. From the wounds and blows which Israel has received, he lies motionless and helpless, getting neither sympathy nor aid from his lovers. The feminine suffix and the mention of lovers show that the address turns to the daughter of Zion. On the expression אנוּשׁ , "it is ill with thy bruise," cf. Jer 15:18. נחלה מכּה, "bad, incurable is the stroke which thou hast received," as in Jer 10:19; Jer 14:17. דּוּן דּין, "to execute justice;" cf. Jer 5:28; Jer 22:16. Hitzig well explains the meaning: "thy claims against thy heathen oppressors." למזור, although connected by the accents with what precedes, does not agree well with דּן דּינך; for מזור has not the meaning which has been attributed to it, of a "bandage," but, as derived from the verb זוּר, "to press a wound," signifies the wound that has been pressed together; see on Hos 5:13. Neither does the figure of the wound agree with the expression, "there is none to judge

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thy cause," so that we might, with Umbreit, render the passage, "No one gives thee thy due, in pressing thy wounds;" while, as Graf says, " רפאות dissociated from למזור forms a useless synonym with תּעלה," and in Jer 46:11, where the thought is repeated, it is separated from the latter word. Accordingly, with Hitzig and Graf, we connect למזור  into one clause: "for the wound, there is no healing (or medicine)-no plaster." תּעלה is what is laid upon the wound, a plaster. "All thy lovers," i.e., the nations which were once allied with thee (cf. Jer 22:20, Jer 22:22), do not trouble themselves about thee, because I have smitten thee so heavily on account of the multitude of thy transgressions; cf. Jer 5:6; Jer 13:22. עצמוּ still depends on the preposition על, which continues its force, but as a conjunction. The idea that the Israelites have richly deserved their sufferings is still more plainly presented in Jer 30:15 : "Why criest thou, because thou hast brought this suffering on thee through thy sins?" אנוּשׁ also depends on על, which continues to exert its power in the sentence as a conjunction.

Verses 16-17 Edit

Therefore (i.e., because Israel, although punished for his sins, is destitute of help) will the Lord take pity on him. He will recompense to his oppressors and spoilers according to their deeds, and will heal his wounds. The enemies of Zion will now meet the fate which they have prepared for Zion. Those who, like rapacious animals, would devour Israel (see on Jer 2:3), shall be devoured, and all his oppressors shall go into captivity; cf. Jer 22:22. The Kethib שׁאסיך is the Aramaic form of the participle from  שׁאס for שׁסס; the Qeri substitutes the Hebrew form שׁסיך, after Jer 50:11, Isa 17:14. עלה ארכה, to put on a bandage, lay on a plaster. ארכה signifies, primarily, not a bandage, but, like the Arabic arîkah (according to Fleischer in Delitzsch on Isa 58:8), the new skin which forms over a wound as it heals, and (as is shown by the expression of Isaiah, ארכתך־תּצמח) proves the healing of the wound. Against the direct transference of the meaning of the word in Arabic to the Hebrew ארכה, without taking into consideration the passage in Isaiah just referred to, there is the objection that the word is always used in connection with עלה, "to be put on" (cf. Isa 8:22; 2Ch 24:13; Neh 4:1), or העלה, "to put on" (here and in Jer 33:6),

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which is not the proper verb to be used in speaking of the formation of a new skin over a wound after suppuration has ceased. Hence the word in Hebrew seems to have received the derived sense of "a healing-plaster;" this is confirmed by the employment of the word תּעלה, "plaster," in Jer 30:13 and Jer 46:11. - The second כּי, Jer 30:17, is subordinate to the clause which precedes. "Because they called thee one rejected," i.e., because the enemies of Zion spoke of her contemptuously, as a city that has been forsaken of God, and the Lord will heal her wounds.

Verses 18-22 Edit

Jer 30:18-22Further explanation of the deliverance promised to Zion. - Jer 30:18."Thus saith Jahveh: Behold, I will turn the captivity of the tents of Jacob, and will take pity on his dwellings; and the city shall be built again upon its own hill, and the palace shall be inhabited after its own fashion. Jer 30:19.And there shall come forth from them praise and the voice of those who laugh; and I will multiply them, so that they shall not be few, and I will honour them, so that they shall not be mean. Jer 30:20.And his sons shall be as in former times, and his congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress him. Jer 30:21.And his leader shall spring from himself, and his ruler shall proceed from his midst; and I will bring him near, so that he shall approach to me; for who is he that became surety for his life in drawing near to me? saith Jahveh. Jer 30:22.And ye shall become my people, and I will be your God."
The dwellings of Israel that have been laid waste, and the cities that have been destroyed, shall be restored and inhabited as formerly, so that songs of praise and tones of joy shall resound from them (Jer 30:18.). "The captivity of the tents of Jacob" means the miserable condition of the dwellings of Jacob, i.e., of all Israel; for "to turn the captivity" has everywhere a figurative sense, and signifies the turning of adversity and misery into prosperity and comfort; see on Jer 29:14. Hitzig is quite wrong in his rendering: "I bring back the captives of the tents of Jacob, i.e., those who have been carried away out of the tents." That "tents" does not stand for those who dwell in tents, but is a poetic expression for "habitations," is perfectly clear from the parallel "his dwellings." To "take

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pity on the dwellings" means to "restore the dwellings that have been destroyed" (cf. Jer 9:18). The anarthrous עיר must not be restricted to the capital, but means every city that has been destroyed; here, the capital naturally claims the first consideration. "Upon its hills" is equivalent to saying on its former site, cf. Jos 11:13; it does not mean "on the mound made by its ruins," in support of which Nägelsbach erroneously adduces Deu 13:17. ארמון in like manner stands, in the most general way, for every palace. על־משׁפּטו does not mean "on the proper place," i.e., on an open, elevated spot on the hill (Hitzig), neither does it mean "on its right position" (Ewald); both of these renderings are against the usage of the words: but it signifies "according to its right" (cf. Deu 17:11), i.e., in accordance with what a palace requires, after its own fashion. ישׁב, to be inhabited, as in Jer 17:6, etc. "Out of them" refers to the cities and palaces. Thence proceeds, resounds praise or thanksgiving for the divine grace shown them (cf. Jer 33:11), and the voice, i.e., the tones or sounds, of those who laugh (cf. Jer 15:17), i.e., of the people living in the cities and palaces, rejoicing over their good fortune. "I will increase them, so that they shall not become fewer," cf. Jer 29:6; "I will bring them to honour (cf. Isa 8:22), so that they shall not be lightly esteemed." - In Jer 30:20. the singular suffixes refer to Jacob as a nation (Jer 30:18). "His sons" are the members of the nation; they become as they were previously, in former times - sicut olim sub Davide et Salmonoe, florentissimo rerum statu. "The congregation will be established before me," i.e., under my survey (תּכּון as in Ps. 102:29), i.e., they shall no more be shaken or moved from their position.

Verse 21 Edit

The expression "his prince will be out of him" is explained by the parallel clause, "his ruler will proceed from him." The meaning is, that the people will no longer be ruled or subdued by foreign masters, but be ruled by glorious princes, i.e., leaders endowed with princely glory, and these out of the midst of themselves. Herein is contained the truth, that the sovereignty of Israel, as restored, culminates in the kingdom of the Messiah. Yet the words employed are so general that we cannot restrict  אדּירו and משׁלו to the person of the Messiah. The idea is to be taken in a more general way: As Israel was ruled by princes

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of the house of David, whom God had chosen, so will it again in the future have its own rulers, whom God will raise out of their midst and exalt gloriously. This is clear from the further statement, "I will cause him to approach, and he shall come near unto me." To affirm that these words do not refer to the ruler, but to the people, is a mistake that could be made only by those expositors who view the "ruler" as being none else than the Messiah. Yet the lxx and the Chaldee paraphrase understood the words as referring to the people; and in support of this view, it may be asserted that, in the Messianic period, Israel is to become a holy people (Jer 3:17), and attain its destiny of being a nation of priests (Exo 19:6), in reference to which it is called עם קרבו, Psa 148:14. But the context evidently requires us to refer the words to the king, with regard to whom one here looks for a further statement. The verb הקריב is the regular expression employed in reference to the approach on the part of the priests to Jahveh, cf. Num 16:5; and נגּשׁ in Exo 24:2 denotes the approach of Moses to Jahveh on Mount Sinai. The two verbs thus signify a bringing near and a coming near, which, under the old covenant, was the prerogative of those persons who were consecrated by the Lord to be servants in His sanctuary, but was denied the common people. As to the kings of Israel, in regard to this matter, the ordinance proclaimed concerning Joshua held good in reference to them also: "he shall stand before Eleazar, who shall inquire for him in a matter of Urim before Jahveh" (Num 27:21). Even a David could not approach into the immediate presence of the Lord to ask His will. This prerogative of the priests the Lord will, in the future, vouchsafe also to the princes of Israel, i.e., He will then put them in such a relation to Himself as no one may now presume to occupy, except at the risk of his life. This is shown by the succeeding sentence, which assigns the reason: "For who is there that stands surety for his heart, i.e., with his heart answers for the consequences of approaching me?" לב and not נפשׁ is named, as the seat of physical life, in so far as the heart is the place where the soul is alone with itself, and becomes conscious of all it does and suffers as its own (Oehler in Delitzsch's Psychology, p. 296 of Clark's Translation). The meaning is, that nobody will stake his spiritual-

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moral life on any attempt to draw near to God, because a sinful man is destroyed before the holiness of the Divine Being. Whoever approaches into the presence of Jahveh must die; Num 8:19; Exo 19:21; Exo 34:3, etc.

Verse 22 Edit

Then Israel shall really become the people of the Lord, and the Lord shall be their God; thus the end of their divine calling shall be attained, and the salvation of Israel shall be complete; see on Jer 7:23.

Verses 23-24 Edit

Jer 30:23-24The wicked shall be destroyed by the fire of God's anger. - Jer 30:23."Behold, a whirlwind of Jahveh - wrath goeth forth - a sweeping whirlwind; it shall hurl down on the head of the wicked. Jer 30:24.The heat of Jahveh's anger shall not return till He hath done and till He hath established the purpose of His heart; in the end of the days ye shall consider it."
These two verses have been already met with in Jer 23:19 and Jer 23:20, with a few variations. Instead of מיחולל we have here מתגּורר, and אף־יהוה is here strengthened by prefixing חרון; on the other hand, בּינה, which is added in the preceding passage to intensify התבּוננוּ, is here omitted. The first of these changes is more of a formal than a real kind; for by the substitution of מתגּורר for מיחולל, the play in the latter word on יחוּל is merely disturbed, not "destroyed," since ר and ל are kindred sounds. התגּורר has been variously rendered. The meaning of "abiding," which is founded on 1Ki 17:20, is here unsuitable. Equally inappropriate is the meaning of "crowding together," or assembling in troops, which we find in Hos 7:14. It is more correct to derive it from גּרר, either in the sense of sweeping away or that of blustering, which are meanings derived from the fundamental one of producing harsh sounds in the throat, and transferred to the rushing sound made by the storm as it carries everything along with it. The second and third changes affect the sense. For, by the addition of חרון to אף, the idea of a judgment in wrath is intensified; and by dropping בּינה, less is made of the acuteness of perception. Both of these variations correspond to differences in the context of both passages. In Jer 23, where the words are applied to the false prophets, it was important to place emphasis on the statement that these men would, by experience, come to a

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full knowledge of the reality of that judgment they denied; in this chapter, on the other hand, the idea of judgment in wrath must be expressly set aside. There is thus no good ground for considering these verses a later interpolation into the text, as Movers, Hitzig, and Nägelsbach think. Hitzig rejects these verses as spurious on the false ground that the judgment threatened in this chapter refers merely to the fall of the kingdom of Babylon, which Jeremiah could not have been able to know beforehand; Nägelsbach rejects them on the ground of other erroneous assumptions.[2]
The only doubtful point regarding these verses is, whether they are to be connected, as Hengstenberg thinks, with what precedes, or with what follows, as Ewald supposes. In the former case, to the promise for the true Israel would be added a threat against those who only seemed to be Israel, - like the declaration in Isaiah, "There is no peace to the wicked:" this addition would thus be made, lest those for whom the promise was not intended should unwarrantably apply it to themselves. But, however well-founded the thought is, that every increasing manifestation of grace is invariably accompanied by an increased manifestation of righteousness, and though all the prophets clearly testify that the godless members of the covenant people have no share in the promised salvation, but instead are liable to judgment; yet there has not been such preparation made for the introduction of this thought as that we might be able at once to join these two verses to what precedes. The exclamation "Behold!" with which the words are introduced, rather form a sign that a new addition is to be made to the prophecy. We therefore view the threat in this verse as a resumption of the threat of judgment made in Jer 30:5., to which is attached, in Jer 31:1,

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the further development of the announcement of deliverance; but we refer the threat made in the verse not merely to the heathen as such, but to all "wicked ones," in such a way that it at the same time applies to the godless members of the covenant people, and signifies their exclusion from salvation. The Salvation for all the Families of Israel. - Ewald has well stated the connection of this chapter with the conclusion of the preceding, as follows: "In order that the old form of blessing, found in the books of Moses, and here given in Jer 31:22, may be fulfilled, the whirlwind of Jahveh, which must carry away all the unrighteous, will at last discharge itself, as has been already threatened, Jer 23:19; this must take place in order that there may be a fulfilment of that hope to all the tribes of Israel (both kingdoms)." Jer 31:1. announces deliverance for all the families of Israel, but afterwards it is promised to both divisions of the people separately - first, in vv. 2-22, to the ten tribes, who have been exiles the longest; and then, in a more brief statement, Jer 31:23-26, to the kingdom of Judah: to this, again, there is appended, Jer 31:27-40, a further description of the nature of the deliverance in store for the two houses of Israel.

Chap. 31 Edit

Verses 1-2 Edit

Jer 31:1-2The deliverance for all Israel, and the readmission of the ten tribes. - Jer 31:1. "At that time, saith Jahveh, will I be a God to all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people. Jer 31:2. Thus saith Jahveh: A people escaped from the sword found grace in the wilderness. Let me go to give him rest, even Israel. Jer 31:3. From afar hath Jahve appeared unto me, and with everlasting love have I loved thee; therefore have I continued my favour towards thee. Jer 31:4. Once more will I build thee up, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel; once more shalt thou adorn [thyself] with thy tabrets, and go forth in the dance of those that make merry. Jer 31:5. Once more shalt thou plant vineyards on the ills of Samaria; planters will plant them, and apply them to common use. Jer 31:6. For there is a day [when] watchmen will cry on Mount Ephraim: Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion, to Jahveh our God!"

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The expression "At that time" refers to Jer 30:24, "in the end of the days," which means the Messianic future. The announcement of deliverance itself is continued by resumption of the promise made in Jer 30:22; the transposition of the two portions of the promise is to be remarked. Here, "I will be a God to them" stands first, because the restoration and perfection of Israel have their only foundation in the love of God and in the faithfulness with which He keeps His covenant, and it is only through this gracious act that Israel again becomes the people of God. "All the families of Israel" are the families of the whole twelve tribes - of the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah, separated since the death of Solomon. After this announcement of deliverance for the whole of Israel, the address turns first to Israel of the ten tribes, and continues to treat longest of them, "because, judging from appearances, they seem irrecoverably lost - for ever rejected by the Lord" (Hengstenberg). Jer 31:2 is variously explained. Ewald, following Raschi and others, refers the words 'מצא חן וגו to the leading of Israel out of Egypt: once on a time, in the Arabian desert, the people that had just barely escaped the sword of the Egyptians nevertheless found grace, when Jahveh, as it were, went to make a quiet dwelling-place for them. The love which He displayed towards them at that time He has since continued, and thus He will now once more bring back His people out of the midst of strangers. This view of the passage is supported by the use of the perfects in Jer 31:2 and Jer 31:3, in contrast with the imperfect, "again will I build thee," Jer 31:4, and the employment of the expression "in the desert;" cf. Jer 2:2; Hos 13:4-5. But "the people of those who have escaped the sword" is an expression that cannot be reconciled with it. Rashi, indeed, understands this as referring to the sword of the Egyptians and Amalekites; but the thought that Israel, led out of Egypt through the Arabian desert, was a people that had survived or escaped the sword, is one met with nowhere else in the Old Testament, and is quite inapplicable to the condition of the people of Israel when they were led out of Egypt. Although Pharaoh wished to exterminate the people of Israel through hard servile labour, and through such measures as the order to kill all male children when they were born, yet he did not make

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an exhibition of his wrath against Israel by the sword, neither did he show his anger thus at the Red Sea, where he sought to bring Israel back to Egypt by force. There God shielded His people from the attack of Pharaoh, as He did in the battle against the Amalekites, so that Israel was led through the desert as a whole people, not as a remnant. The designation, "a people escaped from the sword," unconditionally requires us to refer the words to the deliverance of the Israelites from exile; these were only a remnant of what they had formerly been, since the greater portion of them perished, partly at the downfall of the kingdom, and partly in exile, by the sword of the enemy. Hence the perfects in Jer 31:2 and Jer 31:3 are prophetic, and used of the divine counsel, which precedes its execution in time. By using the expression "in the desert," Jeremiah makes an allusion to Israel's being led through the Arabian desert. The restoration of Israel to Canaan, from their exile among the nations, is viewed under the figure of their Exodus from Egypt into the land promised to their fathers, as in Hos 2:16.; and the Exodus from the place of banishment is, at the same time, represented as having already occurred, so that Israel is again on the march to his native land, and is being safely conducted through the desert by his God. There is as little ground for thinking that there is reference here made to the desert lying between Assyria or Babylon and Palestine, as there is for Hitzig's referring שׂרידי חרב to the sword of the Medes and Persians. - The inf. abs. הלוך is used instead of the first person of the imperative (cf. 1Ki 22:30), to express a summons addressed by God to Himself: "I will go." See Gesenius, §131, 4, b,   γ. ] The suffix in הרגּיעו points out the object (Israel) by anticipation: "to bring him to rest." רגע in the Hiphil usually means to be at rest, to rest (Deu 28:65); here, to give rest, bring to rest.

Verse 3 Edit

The people already see in spirit how the Lord is accomplishing His purpose, Jer 31:2. "From afar (the prophet speaks in the name of the people, of which he views himself as one) hath Jahveh appeared unto me." So long as Israel languished in exile, the Lord had withdrawn from him, kept Himself far off. Now the prophet sees Him appearing again. "From afar," i.e., from Zion, where the Lord is viewed as enthroned, the God of His people (Psa 14:7),

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sitting there to lead them back into their land. But the Lord at once assures the people, who have been waiting for Him, of His everlasting love. Because He loves His people with everlasting love, therefore has He kept them by His grace, so that they were not destroyed. משׁך, to draw, keep, restrain; hence משׁך חסד, prolongare gratiam, Psa 36:11; Psa 109:12, but construed with ל of a person; here, with a double accusative, to restrain any one, to preserve him constantly by grace.

Verse 4 Edit

Israel is now to be built up again, i.e., to be raised to a permanent condition of ever-increasing prosperity; cf. Jer 12:16. The additional clause, "and thou shalt be built," confirms this promise. The "virgin of Israel" is the congregation of Israel; cf. Jer 14:17. A new and joyful phase in the life of the people is to begin: such is the meaning of the words, "with tabrets shalt thou adorn thyself, and thou shalt go forth in the dance of those who make merry." In this manner were the popular feasts celebrated in Israel; cf. Jdg 11:34, Ps. 66:26.

Verse 5 Edit

Jer 31:5 "The mountains of Samaria," i.e., of the kingdom of Ephraim (1Ki 13:22; 2Ki 17:24), shall again be planted with vineyards, and the planters, too, shall enjoy the fruits in peace - not plant for strangers, so that enemies shall destroy the fruits; cf. Isa 62:8., Isa 65:21. The words "planters plant and profane" (i.e., those who plant the vineyards are also to enjoy the fruit of them) are to be explained by the law in Lev 19:23., according to which the fruits of newly planted fruit trees, and according to Jdg 9:27, vines also, were not to be eaten during the first three years; those of the fourth year were to be presented as a thank-offering to the Lord; and only those of the fifth year were to be applied to common use. This application to one's own use is expressed in Deu 20:6 by חלּל, properly, to make common.

Verse 6 Edit

Jer 31:6 is attached to the foregoing by כּי, which introduces the reason of what has been stated. The connection is as follows: This prosperous condition of Ephraim is to be a permanent one; for the sin of Jeroboam, the seduction of the ten tribes from the sanctuary of the Lord, shall not continue, but Ephraim shall once more, in the future, betake himself to Zion, to the Lord his God. "There is a day," i.e., there comes a day, a time, when watchmen call. נצרים here denotes the watchmen who were posted

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on the mountains, that they might observe and given notice of the first appearance of the crescent of the moon after new-moon, so that the festival of the new-moon and the feasts connected with it might be fixed; cf. Keil's Bibl. Archäol. ii. §74, Anm. 9 see also the articles Mond and Neumond in Herzog's Real-Encykl. vols. ix. and x.; New-moon in Smith's Bible Dictionary, vol. ii.]. עלה, to go up to Jerusalem, which was pre-eminent among the cities of the land as to spiritual matters.

Verses 7-14 Edit

Jer 31:7-14The restoration of Israel. - Jer 31:7. "For thus saith Jahveh: Shout for joy over Jacob, and cry out over the head of the nations! Make known, praise, and say, I Jahveh, save Thy people, the remnant of Israel! Jer 31:8. Behold, I will bring them out of the land of the north, and will gather them from the sides of the earth. Among them are the blind and lame, the woman with child and she that hath born, together; a great company shall they return hither. Jer 31:9. With weeping shall they come, and with supplications will I lead them: I will bring them to streams of water, by a straight way in which they shall not stumble; for I have become a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born. Jer 31:10.Hear the word of Jahveh, ye nations, and declare among the islands far off, and say: He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd his flock. Jer 31:11.For Jahveh hath redeemed Israel and ransomed him out of the hand of one stronger than he. Jer 31:12.And they shall come and sing with joy on the height of Zion, and come like a flood to the goodness of Jahveh, because of corn, and new wine, and fresh oil, and the young of the flock and the herd; and their soul shall be like a well-watered garden, neither shall they pine away any more. Jer 31:13.Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, and young men and old men together; and I will turn their mourning to joy, and will comfort them, and will cause them to rejoice after their sorrow. Jer 31:14.And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fat, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith Jahveh."
In order to set forth the greatness of the salvation which the Lord will prepare for Israel, so long outcast, Israel is commanded to make loud jubilation, and exhorted to approach the Lord with entreaties for the fulfilment of His purpose of grace. The

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statement regarding this salvation is introduced by כּי, "for," since the description, given in this strophe, of Israel's being led back and re-established, furnishes the actual proof that the nation shall be built up again. The summons to rejoice comes from Jahveh (since, by His gracious dealings, He gives the people material for praise), and is addressed to the members of the nation. These are to rejoice over Jacob, i.e., over the glorious destiny before the people. צהלו  is translated by Hitzig: "shout at the head of the nations," i.e., making a beginning among them all; but this is incorrect and against the context. The thought that many other enslaved nations besides Israel will rejoice over the fall of their oppressors, has not the least foundation in this passage. The summons to the nations, which follows in Jer 31:19, is simply a command to make known God's purpose regarding the deliverance of Israel. Of course, בּראשׁ, taken literally and by itself, may be rendered "at the head" (1Ki 21:12; Amo 6:7, etc.); but in this place, the expression of which it forms the first word is the object of צהלו, which is construed with בּ, "to rejoice over something," Isa 24:4. "The head of the nations" signifies "the first of the nations" (ראשׁית הגּוים, Amo 6:1), i.e., the most exalted among the nations. Such is the designation given to Israel, because God has chosen them before all the nations of the earth to be His peculiar people (Deu 7:6; 2Sa 7:23.), made them the highest over (עליון על, Deu 26:19) all nations. This high honour of Israel, which seemed to have been taken from him by his being delivered over to the power of heathen nations, is now to appear again. השׁמיעוּ, "make to be heard, sing praise," are to be combined into one thought, "sing praise loudly" (so that people may hear it). The words of praise, "Save Thy people, O Jahveh," form rather the expression of a wish than of a request, just as in many psalms, e.g., Ps. 20:10; Psa 28:9, especially Psa 118:25 in הושׁיאה נא, with which Jesus was greeted on His entry into Jerusalem, Mat 21:9 (Graf). - To the rejoicing and praise the Lord replies with the promise that He will lead back His people out of the most distant countries of the north, - every one, even the feeble and frail, who ordinarily would not have strength for so long a journey, "Hither," i.e., to Palestine, where Jeremiah

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wrote the promise; cf. Jer 3:18; Jer 16:15. "With weeping," i.e., with tears of joy, and with contrition of heart over favour so undeserved, they come, and God leads them with weeping, "amidst earnest prayers to the God they have found again, as a lost son returns to the arms of his father" (Umbreit). Hitzig and Graf would connect בּתחנוּנים with what precedes, and combine "I will lead them, I will bring them;" by this arrangement, it is said, the careful guidance of God, in leaving nothing behind, is properly set forth. But the symmetry of the verse is thereby destroyed; and the reason assigned for this construction (which is opposed by the accents), viz., that תּחנוּנים does not mean miseratio, clementia, will not stand the test. As in Isa 55:12 it is the being brought בּשׂמחה that is the chief point, so here, it is the bringing בּתחנוּנים, amidst weeping, i.e., fervent prayer. At the same time, the Lord will care like a father for their refreshment and nurture; He will lead them to brooks of water, so that they shall not suffer thirst in the desert (Isa 48:21), and guide them by a straight (i.e., level) road, so that they shall not fall. For He shows Himself again to Israel as a father, one who cares for them like a father (cf. Jer 3:19; Deu 32:6; Isa 63:6), and treats Ephraim as His first-born. "The first-born of Jahveh," in Exo 4:22, means the people of Israel as compared with the other nations of the earth. This designation is here transferred to Ephraim as the head and representative of the ten tribes; but it is not likely that there is in this any allusion to the preference which Jacob displayed for the sons of Joseph, Gen 49:22. compared with Jer 31:4 (Venema, J. D. Michaelis, Nägelsbach) - the advantage they obtained consisting in this, that Ephraim and Manasseh were placed on an equal footing with Jacob's sons as regards inheritance in the land of Canaan; in other words, they were elevated to the dignity of being founders of tribes. There is no trace in this prophecy of any preference given to Ephraim before Judah, or of the ten tribes before the two tribes of the kingdom of Judah. That the deliverance of Ephraim (Israel) from exile is mentioned before that of Judah, and is further more minutely described, is simply due to the fact, already mentioned, that the ten tribes, who had long languished in exile, had the least hope, according to man's estimation, of deliverance. The

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designation of Ephraim as the first-born of Jahveh simply shows that, in the deliverance of the people, Ephraim is in no respect to be behind Judah, - that they are to receive their full share in the Messianic salvation of the whole people; in other words, that the love which the Lord once displayed towards Israel, when He delivered them out of the power of Pharaoh, is also to be, in the future, displayed towards the ten tribes, who were looked on as lost. The nature of fatherhood and sonship, as set forth in the Old Testament, does not contain the element of the Spirit's testimony to our spirit, but only the idea of paternal care and love, founded on the choosing of Israel out of all the nations to be the peculiar people of God; see on Exo 4:22 and Isa 63:16; Isa 64:7. בּכרי is substantially the same as יקּיר been בּן and ילד שׁעשׁעים in Jer 31:20.

Verses 10-11 Edit

The most remote of the heathen, too, are to be told that Jahveh will free His people from their hands, gather them again, and highly favour them, lest they should imagine that the God of Israel has not the power to save His people, and that they may learn to fear Him as the Almighty God, who has given His people into their power, not from any inability to defend them, but merely for the purpose of chastising them for their sins. איּים are the islands in, and countries lying along the coast of, the Mediterranean Sea; in the language of prophecy, the word is used as a designation of the distant countries of the west; cf. Psa 72:10; Isa 41:1, Isa 41:5; Isa 42:12, etc. On Jer 31:10, cf. Jer 23:3; Exo 34:12., Isa 40:11. "Stronger than he," as in Psa 35:10; the expression is here used of the heathen master of the world.

Verses 12-14 Edit

Thus led by the Lord through the wilderness (Jer 31:9), the redeemed shall come rejoicing to the sacred height of Zion (see on Jer 17:12), and thence go in streams, i.e., scatter themselves over the country like a stream, for the goodness of the Lord, i.e., for the good things which He deals out to them in their native land. "To the goodness of Jahveh" is explained by "because of corn," etc. (על for אל), cf. Hos 3:5. As to the good things of the country, cf. Deu 8:8. Their soul will be like a well-watered garden, an emblem of the fulness and freshness of living power; cf. Isa 58:11.

Verse 13 Edit

Then shall young men and old live in unclouded joy, and forget all their former sorrow. "In the dance" refers

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merely to the virgins: to "young men and old together," only the notion of joy is to be repeated from the context.

Verse 14 Edit

The priests and the people will refresh themselves with the fat, i.e., the fat pieces of the thank-offerings, because numerous offerings will be presented to the Lord in consequence of the blessing received from Him.

Verses 15-22 Edit

Jer 31:15-22Changing of sorrow into joy, because Ephraim will turn to the Lord, and the Lord will lead him back. - Jer 31:15."Thus saith Jahveh: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation, bitter weeping, Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are not. Jer 31:16.Thus saith Jahveh: Restrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for there is a reward for thy work, saith Jahveh, and they shall return from the land of the enemy. Jer 31:17.And there is hope for thy latter end, saith Jahveh, that children shall return to thy border. Jer 31:18.I have certainly heard Ephraim complaining, Thou hast chastised me and I was chastised, like a calf not tamed. Turn me that I may turn, for Thou, O Jahveh, art my God. Jer 31:19.For, after I return I repent, and after I have been taught I smite upon [my] thigh; I am ashamed, yea, and confounded, because I bear the reproach of my youth. Jer 31:20.Is Ephraim a son dear to me, or a child of delight, that, as often as I speak against him, I do yet certainly remember him? Therefore my bowels move for him; I shall surely pity him, saith Jahveh. Jer 31:21.Set thee up way-marks, put up posts for thyself; set thine heart to the highway, the road [by which] thou camest: return, O virgin of Israel, return to these cities of thine. Jer 31:22.How long wilt thou wander about, O backsliding daughter? For Jahveh hath created a new [thing] in the earth: a woman shall encompass a man."
In this strophe the promise is further confirmed by carrying out the thought, that Israel's release from his captivity shall certainly take place, however little prospect there is of it at present. For Israel will come to an acknowledgment of his sins, and the Lord will then once more show him His love. The hopeless condition of Israel is dramatically set forth in Jer 31:15.: Rachel, the mother of Joseph, and thus the ancestress of Ephraim, the chief tribe of the Israelites who had

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revolted from the royal house of David, weeps bitterly over the loss of her children, the ten tribes who have been carried away into exile; and the Lord addresses consolation to her, with the promise that they shall return out of the land of the enemy. "A voice is heard" (נשׁמע, participle, to show duration). The "voice" is more fully treated of in the second part of the verse: loud lamentation and bitter weeping. There is a difficulty connected with בּרמה. The lxx took it to be the name of the city Ramah, now called er - Râm, in the tribe of Benjamin, five English miles north from Jerusalem, on the borders of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel (1Ki 15:17), although this city is elsewhere written with the article (הרמה), not only in the historical notices found in Jer 40:1, Jos 18:25; Jdg 4:5, etc., but also in prophetical addresses, as in Hos 6:8; Isa 10:29. In this passage it cannot be a mere appellative ("on a height"), as in 1Sa 22:6; Eze 16:24; nor can we think of Ramah in Naphtali (Jos 19:36, also הרמה), for this latter city never figures in history like the Ramah of Samuel, not far from Gibeah; see on Jos 18:25 and 1Sa 1:1. But why is the lamentation of Rachel heard at Ramah? Most expositors reply, because the tomb of Rachel was in the divinity of Ramah; in support of this they cite 1Sa 10:2. Nägelsbach, who is one of these, still maintains this view with the utmost confidence. But this assumption is opposed to Gen 35:16 and Gen 35:19, where it is stated that Rachel died and was buried on the way to Bethlehem, and not far from the town (see on Genesis, l.c.), which is about five miles south from Jerusalem, and thus far from Ramah. Nor is any support for this view to be got from 1Sa 10:2, except by making the groundless assumption, that Saul, while seeking for the asses of his father, came to Samuel in his native town; whereas, in the account given in that chapter, he is merely said to have sought for Samuel in a certain town, of which nothing more is stated, and to have inquired at him; see on 1Sa 10:2. We must therefore reject, as arbitrary and groundless, all attempts to fix the locality of Rachel's sepulchre in the neighbourhood of Ramah (Nägelsbach); in the same way we must treat the assertion of Thenius, Knobel, Graf, etc., that the Ephratah of Gen 35:16, Gen 35:19, is the same as the Ephron of 2Ch 13:19, which was situated

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near Bethel; so, too, must we deal with the statements, that Ephratah, i.e., Bethlehem, is to be expunged from the text of Gen 35:9 and 48 as a false gloss, and that the tradition, attested in Mat 2:18, as to the situation of Rachel's sepulchre in the vicinity of Bethlehem, is incorrect. Nor does the passage of Jeremiah now before us imply that Rachel's sepulchre was near Ramah. Rachel does not weep at Ramah over her lost children, either because she had been buried there, or because it was in Ramah of Benjamin that the exiles were assembled, according to Jer 40:1 (Hitzig, and also Delitzsch on Gen 35:20). For it was the Jews who were to be carried away captive that were gathered together at Ramah, whereas it was over Israelites or Ephraimites that had been carried into exile that Rachel weeps. The lamentation of Rachel is heard at Ramah, as the most loftily situated border-town of the two kingdoms, whence the wailing that had arisen sounded far and near, and could be heard in Judah. Nor does she weep because she has learned something in her tomb of the carrying away of the people, but as their common mother, as the beloved spouse of Jacob, who in her married life so earnestly desired children. Just as the people are often included under the notion of the "daughter of Zion," as their ideal representative, so the great ancestress of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh is here named as the representative of the maternal love shown by Israel in the pain felt when the people are lost. The sing. כּי איננּוּ signifies, "for not one of them is left." - This verse is quoted by Matthew (Mat 2:18), after relating the story of the murder of the children at Bethlehem, with the introductory formula, τότε ἐπληρώθη τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ  ̓Ιερεμίου: from this the older theologians (cf. Calovii Bibl. illustr. ad Jer. l.c.) conclude that Jeremiah directly prophesied that massacre of the children committed by Herod. But this inference cannot be allowed; it will not fit in with the context of the prophecy. The expression ἐπληρώθη, used by Matthew, only shows that the prophecy of Jeremiah received a new fulfilment through that act of Herod. Of course, we must not reduce the typical reference of the prophecy to that event at Bethlehem simply to this, that the wailing of the mothers of Bethlehem over their murdered children was as great as the lamentation made when the people were carried into exile.

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Typology rather assumes a causal connection between the two events. The destruction of the people of Israel by the Assyrians and Chaldeans is a type of the massacre of the infants at Bethlehem, in so far as the sin which brought the children of Israel into exile laid a foundation for the fact that Herod the Idumean became king over the Jews, and wished to destroy the true King and Saviour of Israel that he might strengthen his own dominion. Cf. Fr. Kleinschmidt, die typolog. Citate der vier Evangelien, 1861, S. 10ff.; Fairbairn's Typology, fifth edition, vol. i. pp. 452-3.]
The Lord will put an end to this wailing. "Cease thy weeping," He cries to the sorrowing ones, "for there is a reward for thy labour" (almost identical with 2Ch 15:7). פּעלּה is the maternal labour of birth and rearing of children. The reward consists in this, that the children shall return out of the land of the enemy into their own land. Jer 31:17 states the same thing in parallel clauses, to confirm the promise. On the expression "hope for thy latter end," cf. Jer 29:11. בּנים without the article, as in Hos 11:10, etc.; cf. Ewald, §277, b. This hope is grounded on the circumstance that Israel will become aware, through suffering, that he is punished for his sins, and, repenting of these sins, will beseech his God for favour. The Lord already perceives this repentant spirit and acknowledgment of sin. ואוּסר does not mean "I had myself chastised," or "I learned chastisement" (Hitzig), but "I was chastised," like an untamed calf, i.e., one not trained to bear the yoke and to endure labour. On this figure, cf. Hos 10:11. The recognition of suffering as chastisement by God excites a desire after amelioration and amendment. But since man cannot accomplish these through his own powers, Israel prays, "Lead me back," sc. from my evil way, i.e., turn me. He finds himself constrained to this request, because he feels regret for his apostasy from God. אחרי שׁוּבי in this connection can only mean, "after I turned," sc. from Thee, O Lord my God; on this meaning of שׁוּב, cf. Jer 8:4. הוּדע, to be brought to understanding through punishment, i.e., to become wise. To smite the thighs is a token of terror and horror; cf. Eze 21:17. On בּשׁתּי וגם נכלמתּי cf. Isa 45:16. "The shame of my youth" is that which I brought on myself in my youth through the

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sins I then committed. On this confession generally, cf. the similar one in Jer 3:21. - Thereafter the Lord replies, Jer 31:20, with the question, whether Ephraim is so dear a son to Him that, as often as He has spoken against him, i.e., uttered hard words of condemnation, He still, or again, thinks of him. ילד שׁעשׁעים, "a child of delight," whom one fondles; cf. Isa 5:7. The clause explanatory of the question, "for as often as," etc., is taken in different ways. דּבּר may signify, "to speak about one," or "to speak against one," or "to pay addresses to one," i.e., to court him: 1Sa 25:39; Sol 8:8. Hitzig applies the last meaning to the expression, and translates, "as often as I have paid my suit to him;" according to this view, the basis of the representation of Jahveh's relation to the people is that of a husband to his wife. But this meaning of the verb does not by any means suit the present context, well established though it is by the passages that have been adduced. Ephraim is here represented as a son, not a virgin to whom Jahveh could pay suit. Hence we must take the expression in the sense of "speaking against" some one. But what Jahveh says against Ephraim is no mere threatening by words, but a reprimand by deeds of judgment. The answer to the question is to be inferred from the context: If the Lord, whenever He is constrained to punish Ephraim, still thinks of him, then Ephraim must be a son dear to Him. But this is not because of his conduct, as if he caused Him joy by obedience and faithful attachment, but in consequence of the unchangeable love of God, who cannot leave His son, however much grief he causes his Father. "Therefore," i.e., because he is a son to whom Jahveh shows the fulness of His paternal love, all His kindly feelings towards him are now excited, and He desires to show compassion on him. On המוּ מעי cf. Isa 16:11 and Isa 63:15. Under "bowels" are included especially the heart, liver, reins, the noblest organs of the soul. The expression is strongly anthropopathic, and denotes the most heartfelt sympathy. This fellow-feeling manifests itself in the form of pity, and actually as deliverance from misery.
The Lord desires to execute this purpose of His everlasting love. Jer 31:21. Israel is required to prepare himself for return, and to go home again into his own cities. "Set thee up way

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marks." ציּוּן, in 2Ki 23:17 and Eze 39:15, "a tombstone," probably a stone pillar, which could also serve as a way-mark. תּמרוּרים is not from מרר as in Jer 31:15, but from תּמר, and has the same meaning as תּימרה, Joe 3:3, Talm. תּמּוּר, a pillar, Arab. t̀âmîrun, pl., cippi, signa in desertis. "Set thy heart," i.e., turn thy mind to the road, the way you have gone (on הלכתּי see Jer 2:20), not, that you may not miss it, but because it leads thee home. "Return to these cities of thine." "These" implies that the summons issues from Palestine. Moreover, the separate clauses of this verse are merely a poetic individualization of the thought that Israel is to think seriously of returning; and, inasmuch as this return to Palestine presupposes return to the Lord, Israel must first turn with the heart to his God. Then, in Jer 31:22, follows the exhortation not to delay. The meaning of התחמּק is educed from Sol 5:6, where חמק signifies to turn one's self round; hence the Hithpael means to wander about here and there, uncertain what to do. This exhortation is finally enforced by the statement, "Jahveh creates a new thing on earth" (cf. Isa 43:19). This novelty is, "a woman will encompass a man." With regard to the meaning of these words, about which there is great dispute, this much is evident from the context, that they indicate a transformation of things, a new arrangement of the relations of life. This new arrangement of things which Jahveh brings about is mentioned as a motive which should rouse Ephraim (= Israel) to return without delay to the Lord and to his cities. If we keep this in mind, we shall at once set aside as untenable such interpretations as that of Luther in his first translation of 1532-38, "those who formerly behaved like women shall be men," which Ewald has revived in his rendering, "a woman changing into a man," or that of Schnurrer, Rosenmüller, Gesenius, Maurer, "the woman shall protect the man," or that of Nägelsbach, "the woman shall turn the man to herself." The above-mentioned general consideration, we repeat, is sufficient to set aside these explanations, quite apart from the fact that none of them can be lexically substantiated; for סובב neither means to "turn one's self, vertere," nor to "protect," nor to "cause to return" (as if סובב

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were used for שׁובב). Deu 32:10 is adduced to prove the meaning of protection; but the word there means to go about fondling and cherishing. Neither the transmutation of the female into a male, or of a weak woman into a strong man, nor the protection of the man by a woman, nor the notion that the strong succumbs to the weak, forms an effectual motive for the summons to Israel to return; nor can we call any of them a new creative act effected by Jahveh, or a new arrangement of things. But we must utterly reject the meaning of the words given by Castle, le Clerc, and Hitzig, who apply them to the unnatural circumstance, that a woman makes her suit to a man, even where by the woman is understood the virgin of Israel, and by the man, Jahveh. Luther gave the correct rendering in his editions of 1543 and 1545, "the woman shall encompass the man," - only, "embrace" (Ger. umfangen) might express the sense better than "encompass" (Ger. umgeben). נקבה is nomen sexus, "femella, a female;" גּבר, a "man," also "proles mascula," not according to the sexual relation (=זכר), but with the idea of strength. Both in the choice of these words and by the omission of the article, the relation is set forth in its widest generality; the attention is thereby steadily directed to its fundamental nature. The woman, the weak and tender being, shall lovingly embrace the man, the strong one. Hengstenberg reverses the meaning of the words when he renders them, "the strong one shall again take the weak into his closest intercourse, under his protection, loving care." Many expositors, including Hengstenberg and Hitzig of moderns, have rightly perceived that the general idea has been set forth with special reference to the relation between the woman, Israel, and the man, Jahveh.
Starting with this view, which is suggested by the context, the older expositors explained the words of the conception and birth of Christ by a virgin; cf. Corn. a Lapide, Calovii Bibl. ill., Cocceius, and Pfeiffer, dubia vex. p. 758ff. Thus, for example, the Berleburger Bibel gives the following explanation: "A woman or virgin - not a married woman - will encompass, i.e., carry and contain in her body, the man who is to be a vanquisher of all and to surpass all in strength." This explanation cannot be set aside by the simple remark, "that here there would be set forth the very feature

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in the birth of Christ by a virgin which is not peculiar to it as compared with others;" for this "superficial remark" does not in the least touch the real point to be explained. But it may very properly be objected, that סובב has not the special meaning of conceiving in a mother's womb. On this ground we can also set down as incorrect the other explanation of the words in the Berleburger Bibel, that the text rather speaks of "the woman who is the Jewish Church, and who, in the spirit of faith, is to bear Christ as the mighty God, Isa 9:6, in the likeness of a man, Rev 12:1-2." However, these explanations are nearer the truth than any that have been offered since. The general statement, "a woman shall encompass (the) man," i.e., lovingly embrace him - this new relation which Jahveh will bring about in place of the old, that the man encompasses the wife, loving, providing for, protecting her - can only be referred, agreeably to the context, to change of relation between Israel and the Lord. סובב, "to encompass," is used tropically, not merely of the mode of dealing on the part of the Lord to His people, the faithful, - of the protection, the grace, and the aid which He grants to the pious ones, as in Psa 32:7, Psa 32:10; Deu 32:10, - but also of the dealings of men with divine things. אסובבה מזבּחך, Psa 26:6, does not mean, "I will go round Thine altar," in a circle or semicircle as it were, but, "I will keep to Thine altar," instead of keeping company with the wicked; or more correctly, "I will surround Thine altar," making it the object of my care, of all my dealings, - I will make mine own the favours shown to the faithful at Thine altar. In the verse now before us, סובב signifies to encompass with love and care, to surround lovingly and carefully, - the natural and fitting dealing on the part of the stronger to the weak and those who need assistance. And the new thing that God creates consists in this, that the woman, the weaker nature that needs help, will lovingly and solicitously surround the man, the stronger. Herein is expressed a new relation of Israel to the Lord, a reference to a new covenant which the Lord, Jer 31:31., will conclude with His people, and in which He deals so condescendingly towards them that they can lovingly embrace Him. This is the substance of the Messianic meaning in the words. The conception of the Son of God in the womb of the

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Virgin Mary is not expressed in them either directly or indirectly, even though we were allowed to take סובב in the meaning of "embrace." This new creation of the Lord is intended to be, and can be, for Israel, a powerful motive to their immediate return to their God.

Verses 23-25 Edit

Jer 31:23-25The re-establishment and blessing of Judah. - Jer 31:23."Thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Once more shall they say this word in the land of Judah and in its cities, when I turn their captivity: 'Jahveh bless thee, O habitation of righteousness, O mountain of holiness!' Jer 31:24.And there shall dwell in it, [in] Judah and all its cities together, husbandmen and [those who] move about with the flock. Jer 31:25.For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have filled every languishing soul. Jer 31:26.Because of this I awoke and looked, and my sleep was sweet unto me."
The prophecy which treats of Judah alone is condensed, but states much in few words - not merely the restitutio in statum integritatis, but also rich blessing thereafter. "May Jahveh bless thee" is a benediction, equivalent to "may you be blessed;" cf. Psa 128:5; Psa 134:3. נוה צדק does not mean "habitation of salvation," but "habitation of righteousness;" cf. Isa 1:21, where it is said of Jerusalem that righteousness formerly dwelt in it. This state of matters is again to exist; Jerusalem is again to become a city in which righteousness dwells. "The holy mountain" is Zion, including Moriah, where the Lord had set up His throne. That the designation "the holy mountain" was applied to the whole of Jerusalem cannot be made out from Psa 2:6; Psa 48:2., Isa 11:9; Isa 27:13, which have been adduced to prove the assertion. The prayer for the blessing implies that Zion will again be the seat of the Divine King of His people. Jer 31:24. "There dwell in it (in the land of Judah) Judah and all his towns," i.e., the population of Judah and of all its towns, as "husbandmen and (those who) pasture flocks," i.e., each one pursuing undisturbed his own peaceful employment, agriculture and cattle-rearing, and (Jer 31:25) so blessed in these callings that they are kept from every need and want. דּאבה may either be viewed as the perfect, before which the relative is to be supplied, or an adjectival form imitated from the Aramaic participle,

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masc. דּאב.

Verse 26 Edit

Thereupon the prophet awoke from his ecstatic sleep, and said, "My sleep was pleasant" (cf. Pro 3:24). Very many expositors, including Rosenmüller, Umbreit, and Neumann among the moderns, understand the words, "therefore (or, because of this) I awoke," etc., as referring to God, because in what precedes and follows Jahveh speaks, and because God is sometimes, in the Psalms, called on to awake, e.g., Psa 7:7; Psa 35:23; Psa 44:24, etc. But it has been properly objected to this, that the words, "my sleep was sweet" (pleasant), are inappropriate as utterances of God, inasmuch as He does not sleep; nowhere in Scripture is sleep attributed to God, and the summons to awake merely implies the non-interference on the part of God in the affairs of His people. Moreover, we would need to refer the sleeping of God, mentioned in this verse, to His dealing towards Israel during the exile, in such a way that His conduct as a powerful judge would be compared to a sweet sleep - which is inconceivable. As little can the verse be supposed to contain words of the people languishing in exile, as Jerome has taken them. For the people could not possibly compare the time of oppression during the exile to a pleasant sleep. There is thus nothing left for us but to take this verse, as the Targum, Raschi, Kimchi, Venema, Dahler, Hitzig, Hengstenberg, and others have done, as a remark by the prophet regarding his feelings when he received this revelation; and we must accept something like the paraphrase of Tholuck (die Propheten, S. 68): "Because of such glorious promises I awoke to reflect on them, and my ecstatic sleep delighted me." This view is not rendered less tenable by the objection that Jeremiah nowhere says God had revealed Himself to him in a dream, and that, in what precedes, there is not to be found any intimation that what he sets forth appeared to him as a vision. For neither is there any intimation, throughout the whole prophecy, that he received it while in a waking state. The command of God, given Jer 30:2 at the first, to write in a book the words which Jahveh spoke to him, implies that the prophecy was not intended, in the first instance, to be publicly read before the people; moreover, it agrees with the assumption that he received the prophecy in a dream. But against the objection that Jeremiah never states,

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in any other place, in what bodily condition he was when he received his revelations from God, and that we cannot see why he should make such an intimation here - we may reply, with Nägelsbach, that this prophecy is the only one in the whole book which contains unmixed comfort, and that it is thus easy to explain why he could never forget that moment when, awaking after he had received it, he found he had experienced a sweet sleep. Still less weight is there in the objection of Graf, that one cannot comprehend why this remark stands here, because the description is evidently continued in what follows, while the dream must have ended here, when the prophet awoke. For this is against the assumption that the hand of the Lord immediately touched him again, and put him back into the ecstatic state. One might rather urge the consideration that the use of the word שׁנה, "sleep," does not certainly prove that the prophet was in the ecstatic state, from the fact that the lxx render תּר, in Gen 2:21 and Gen 15:2, by ἔκστασις. But wherever divine revelations were made in dreams, these of course presuppose sleep; so that the ecstatic state might also be properly called "sleep." Jeremiah adds, "And I looked," to signify that he had been thoroughly awakened, and, in complete self-consciousness, perceived that his sleep had been pleasant.

Verses 27-28 Edit

Jer 31:27-28The renovation of Israel and Judah. - Jer 31:27."Behold, days are coming, saith Jahveh, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with seed of men and seed of beasts. Jer 31:28.And it shall be that, just as I have watched over them to pluck up and to break down, to pull down and to destroy and to hurt, so shall I watch over them to build and to plant, saith Jahveh. Jer 31:29.In those days they shall no more say, 'Fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the teeth of the children become blunt;' Jer 31:30.But each man shall die for his own iniquity: every man who eats the sour grapes, his own teeth shall become blunted."
After announcement has been made, in what preceded, that both portions of the covenant people will be led back into their own land and re-established there, both are now combined, since they are again, at the restoration, to be united under one king, the sprout of David (cf. Jer 3:15, Jer 3:18), and to both there is promised

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great blessing, both temporal and spiritual. The house of Israel and the house of Judah, as separate nations, are represented as a fruitful field, which God will sow with men and cattle. בּהמּה, "cattle," the tame domestic animals, contribute to the prosperity of a nation. That this seed will mightily increase, is evident from the fact that God sows it, and (as is further stated in Jer 31:28) will watch over it as it grows. Whereas, hitherto, He has watched for the purpose of destroying and annihilating the people, because of their apostasy, He will in time to come watch for the purpose of planting and building them up. The prophet has hitherto been engaged in fulfilling, against the faithless people, the first part of the commission given him by the Lord when he was called to his office (Jer 1:10); hereafter, he will be engaged in building up. As certainly as the first has taken place - and of this the people have had practical experience - so certainly shall the other now take place.

Verses 29-30 Edit

The proverb, which Ezekiel also (Eze 18:2.) mentions and contends against, cannot mean, "The fathers have begun to eat sour grapes, but not till the teeth of their sons have become blunted by them" (Nägelsbach); the change of tense is against this, for, by the perfect אכלוּ and the imperfect תּקהינה, the blunting of the children's teeth is set down as a result of the fathers' eating. The proverb means, "Children atone for the misdeeds of their fathers," or "The sins of the fathers are visited on their innocent children." On this point, cf. the explanations given in Eze 18:2. "Then shall they no more say" is rightly explained by Hitzig to mean, "They shall have no more occasion to say." But the meaning of the words is not yet made plain by this; in particular, the question how we must understand Jer 31:30 is not settled. Graf, referring to Jer 23:7-8, supplies יאמרוּ after כּי־אם, and thus obtains the meaning, Then will they no more accuse God of unrighteousness, as in that wicked proverb, but they will perceive that every one has to suffer for his own guilt. Hitzig and Nägelsbach have declared against this insertion - the former with the remark that, in Jer 23:7-8, because both members of the sentence begin with protestations, the whole is clear, while here it is not so - the latter resting on the fact that the dropping of the proverb from current use certainly

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implies a correct knowledge of the righteousness of God, but one which is very elementary and merely negative; while, on the other hand, the whole connection of the passage now before us shows that it is intended to describe a period when the theocratic life is in a most flourishing condition. Then expositors take Jer 31:30 as the utterance of the prophet, and as embodying the notion that the average level of morality shall be so high at this future period, that only some sins will continue to be committed, and these as isolated exceptions to the rule. Taken all in all, Israel will be a holy people, in which the general spirit pervading them will repress the evil in some individuals, that would otherwise manifest itself. But we cannot imagine how these ideas can be supposed to be contained in the words, "Every man shall die for his own sins," etc. Jer 31:30 unquestionably contains the opposite of Jer 31:29. The proverb mentioned in Jer 31:29 involves the complaint against God, that in punishing sin He deals unjustly. According to this view, Jer 31:30 must contain the declaration that, in the future, the righteousness of God is to be revealed in the punishment of sins. As we have already remarked on Eze 18:3., the verse in question rather means, that after the re-establishment of Israel, the Lord will make known to His people His grace in so glorious a manner that the favoured ones will fully perceive the righteousness of His judgments. The experience of the unmerited love and compassion of the Lord softens the heart so much, that the favoured one no longer doubts the righteousness of the divine punishment. Such knowledge of true blessedness cannot be called elementary; rather, it implies a deep experience of divine grace and a great advance in the life of faith. Nor does the verse contain a judgment expressed by the prophet in opposition to that of his contemporaries, but it simply declares that the opinion contained in that current proverb shall no longer be accepted then, but the favoured people will recognise in the death of the sinner the punishment due to them for their own sin. Viewed in this manner, these verses prepare the way for the following announcement concerning the nature of the new covenant.

Verses 31-40 Edit

Jer 31:31-40The new covenant. - Jer 31:31. "Behold, days are coming, saith Jahveh, when I will make with the house of

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Israel and with the house of Judah a new covenant; Jer 31:32. Not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I laid hold of their hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, which covenant of mine they broke, though I had married them to myself, saith Jahveh; Jer 31:33. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jahveh: I will put my law within them, and on their heart will I write it; and I will become to them a God, and they shall be to me a people. Jer 31:34. And they shall no more teach every man his neighbour and every man his brother, saying, Know ye Jahveh, for all of them shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, saith Jahveh; for I will pardon their iniquity, and their sins will I remember no more. Jer 31:35. Thus saith Jahveh, [who] gives the sun for light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and stars for light by night, who rouses the sea so that its waves roar, Jahveh of hosts is His name: Jer 31:36. If these ordinances move away from before me, saith Jahveh, then also will the seed of Israel cease to be a people before me for ever. Jer 31:37. Thus saith Jahveh: If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth below can be searched out, then will I also reject all the seed of Israel because of all that they have done, saith Jahveh. Jer 31:38. Behold, days come, saith Jahveh, when the city shall be built for Jahveh, from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner, Jer 31:39. And the measuring-line shall once more go out straight over the hill of Gareb, and turn round towards Goah. Jer 31:40. And all the valley of the corpses and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the valley of Kidron, unto the corner of the gate of the horses towards the east, [shall be] holiness to Jahveh; it shall not be plucked up nor pulled down again for ever.
The re-establishment of Israel reaches its completion in the making of a new covenant, according to which the law of God is written in the hearts of the people; thereby Israel becomes in truth the people of the Lord, and the knowledge of God founded on the experience of the forgiveness of sins is such that there is no further need of any external means like mutual teaching about God (Jer 31:31-34). This covenant is to endure for ever, like the unchangeable ordinances of nature

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(Jer 31:35-37); and in consequence of this, Jerusalem shall be guilt as the holy city of God, which shall never be destroyed again (Jer 31:38-40).

Verses 31-32 Edit

Jer 31:31-32 כּרת בּרית does not mean "to make an appointment," but "to conclude a covenant," to establish a relation of mutual duties and obligations. Every covenant which God concludes with men consists, on the side of God, in assurance of His favours and actual bestowal of them; these bind men to the keeping of the commands laid on them. The covenant which the Lord will make with all Israel in the future is called "a new covenant," as compared with that made with the fathers at Sinai, when the people were led out of Egypt; this latter is thus implicitly called the "old covenant." The words, "on the day when I took them by the hand," etc., must not be restricted, on the one side, to the day of the Exodus from Egypt, nor, on the other, to the day when the covenant was solemnly made at Sinai; they rather refer to the whole time of the Exodus, which did not reach its termination till the entrance into Canaan, though it culminated in the solemn admission of Israel, at Sinai, as the people of Jahveh; see on Jer 7:22. (On the punctuation of החזיקי, cf. Ewald, §238, d, Olshaus. Gramm. §191,f.) אשׁר is not a conjunction, "quod, because," but a relative pronoun, and must be combined with את־בּריתי, "which my covenant," i.e., which covenant of mine. "They" stands emphatically in contrast with "though I" in the following circumstantial clause, which literally means, "but I have married them to myself," or, "I was their husband." As to בּעלתּי, see on Jer 3:14. Hengstenberg wrongly takes the words as a promise, "but I will marry them to myself;" this view, however, is incompatible with the perfect, and the position of the words as a contrast with "they broke."[3]
The two closely connected expressions indicate why a new covenant was necessary; there is no formal statement, however, of the reason, which is merely given in a subordinate and appended clause. For the proper reason why a new covenant is made is not that the people have

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broken the old one, but that, though Jahveh had united Israel to Himself, they have broken the covenant and thereby rendered it necessary to make a new one. God the Lord, in virtue of His unchangeable faithfulness, would not alter the relation He had Himself established in His love, but simply found it anew in a way which obviated the breaking of the covenant by Israel. For it was a defect connected with the covenant made with Israel at Sinai, that it could be broken on their part. This defect is not to exist in the new covenant which God will make in after times. The expression "after those (not these) days" is remarkable; ההם is not the same as האלּה, and yet the days meant can only be the "coming days;" accordingly, it is "those days" (as in Jer 31:29) that are to be expected. The expression "after these days" is inexact, and probably owes its origin to the idea contained in the phrase "in the end of the days" (בּאחרית, cf. Jer 23:20).

Verses 33-37 Edit

The character of the new covenant: "I (Jahveh) give (will put) my law within them, and write it upon their heart." בּקרבּם is the opposite of נתן לפניהם, which is constantly used of the Sinaitic law, cf. Jer 9:12; Deu 4:8; Deu 11:32; 1Ki 9:6; and the "writing on the heart" is opposed to writing on the tables of stone, Exo 31:18, cf. Jer 32:15., Jer 34:8, Deu 4:13; Deu 9:11; Deu 10:4, etc. The difference, therefore, between the old and the new covenants consists in this, that in the old the law was laid before the people that they might accept it and follow it, receiving it into their hearts, as the copy of what God not merely required of men, but offered and vouchsafed to them for their happiness; while in the new it is put within, implanted into the heart and soul by the Spirit of God, and becomes the animating life-principle, 2Co 3:3. The law of the Lord thus forms, in the old as well as in the new covenant, the kernel and essence of the relation instituted between the Lord and His people; and the difference between the two consists merely in this, that the will of God as expressed in the law under the old covenant was presented externally to the people, while under the new covenant it is to become an internal principle of life. Now, even in the old covenant, we not only find that Israel is urged to receive the law of the Lord his God into his heart, - to make the law presented to him from without the property of his

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heart, as it were, - but even Moses, we also find, promises that God will circumcise the heart of the people, that they may love God the Lord with all their heart and all their soul (Deu 30:6). But this circumcision of heart and this love of God with the whole soul, which are repeatedly required in the law (Deu 6:5; Deu 10:12, Deu 10:16), are impossibilities, unless the law be received into the heart. It thus appears that the difference between the old and the new covenants must be reduced to this, that what was commanded and applied to the heart in the old is given in the new, and the new is but the completion of the old covenant. This is, indeed, the true relation between them, as is clearly shown by the fact, that the essential element of the new covenant, "I will be their God, and they shall be my people," was set forth as the object of the old; cf. Lev 26:12 with Exo 29:45. Nevertheless the difference is not merely one of degree, but one of kind. The demands of the law, "Keep the commandments of your God," "Be ye holy as the Lord your God is holy," cannot be fulfilled by sinful man. Even when he strives most earnestly to keep the commands of the law, he cannot satisfy its requirements. The law, with its rigid demands, can only humble the sinner, and make him beseech God to blot out his sin and create in him a clean heart (Psa 51:11.); it can only awaken him to the perception of sin, but cannot blot it out. It is God who must forgive this, and by forgiving it, write His will on the heart. The forgiveness of sin, accordingly, is mentioned, Jer 31:34, at the latter part of the promise, as the basis of the new covenant. But the forgiveness of sins is a work of grace which annuls the demand of the law against men. In the old covenant, the law with its requirements is the impelling force; in the new covenant, the grace shown in the forgiveness of sins is the aiding power by which man attains that common life with God which the law sets before him as the great problem of life. It is in this that the qualitative difference between the old and the new covenants consists. The object which both set before men for attainment is the same, but the means of attaining it are different in each. In the old covenant are found commandment and requirement; in the new, grace and giving. Certainly, even under the old covenant, God bestowed on the people of Israel grace and the

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forgiveness of sins, and, by the institution of sacrifice, had opened up a way of access by which men might approach Him and rejoice in His gracious gifts; His Spirit, moreover, produced in the heart of the godly ones the feeling that their sins were forgiven, and that they were favoured of God. But even this institution and this working of the Holy Spirit on and in the heart, was no more than a shadow and prefiguration of what is actually offered and vouchsafed under the new covenant, Heb 10:1. The sacrifices of the old covenant are but prefigurations of the true atoning-offering of Christ, by which the sins of the whole world are atoned for and blotted out.
In Jer 31:34 are unfolded the results of God's putting His law in the heart. The knowledge of the Lord will then no longer be communicated by the outward teaching of every man to his fellow, but all, small and great, will be enlightened and taught by the Spirit of God (Isa 54:13) to know the Lord; cf. Joe 3:1., Isa 11:9. These words do not imply that, under the new covenant, "the office of the teacher of religion must cease" (Hitzig); and as little is "disparity in the imparting of the knowledge of God silently excluded" in Jer 31:33. The meaning simply is this, that the knowledge of God will then no longer be dependent on the communication and instruction of man. The knowledge of Jahveh, of which the prophet speaks, is not the theoretic knowledge which is imparted and acquired by means of religious instruction; it is rather knowledge of divine grace based upon the inward experience of the heart, which knowledge the Holy Spirit works in the heart by assuring the sinner that he has indeed been adopted as a son of God through the forgiveness of his sins. This knowledge, as being an inward experience of grace, does not exclude religious instruction, but rather tacitly implies that there is intimation given of God's desire to save and of His purpose of grace. The correct understanding of the words results from a right perception of the contrast involved in them, viz., that under the old covenant the knowledge of the Lord was connected with the mediation of priests and prophets. Just as, at Sinai, the sinful people could not endure that the Lord should address them directly, but retreated, terrified by the awful manifestation of the Lord on the mountain, and said entreatingly to Moses,

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"Speak thou with us and we will hear, but let not God speak with us, lest we die" (Exo 20:15); so, under the old covenant economy generally, access to the Lord was denied to individuals, and His grace was only obtained by the intervention of human mediators. This state of matters has been abolished under the new covenant, inasmuch as the favoured sinner is placed in immediate relation to God by the Holy Spirit. Heb 4:16; Eph 3:12.
In order to give good security that the promise of a new covenant would be fulfilled, the Lord, in Jer 31:35., points to the everlasting duration of the arrangements of nature, and declares that, if this order of nature were to cease, then Israel also would cease to be a people before Him; i.e., the continuance of Israel as the people of God shall be like the laws of nature. Thus the eternal duration of the new covenant is implicitly declared. Hengstenberg contests the common view of Jer 31:35 and Jer 31:36, according to which the reference is to the firm, unchangeable continuance of God's laws in nature, which everything must obey; and he is of opinion that, in Jer 31:35, it is merely the omnipotence of God that is spoken of, that this proves He is God and not man, and that there is thus formed a basis for the statement set forth in Jer 31:35, so full of comfort for the doubting covenant people; that God does not life, that He can never repent of His covenant and His promises. But the arguments adduced for this, and against the common view, are not decisive. The expression "stirring the sea, so that its waves roar," certainly serves in the original passage, Isa 51:15, from which Jeremiah has taken it, to bring the divine omnipotence into prominence; but it does not follow from this that here also it is merely the omnipotence of God that is pointed out. Although, in rousing the sea, "no definite rule that we can perceive is observed, no uninterrupted return," yet it is repeated according to the unchangeable ordinance of God, though not every day, like the rising and setting of the heavenly bodies. And in Jer 31:35, under the expression "these ordinances" are comprehended the rousing of the sea as well as the movements of the moon and stars; further, the departure, i.e., the cessation, of these natural phenomena is mentioned as impossible, to signify that Israel cannot cease to exist as a

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people; hence the emphasis laid on the immutability of these ordinances of nature. Considered in itself, the putting of the sun for a light by day, and the appointment of the moon and stars for a light by night, are works of the almighty power of God, just as the sea is roused so that its waves roar; but, that these phenomena never cease, but always recur as long as the present world lasts, is a proof of the immutability of these works of the omnipotence of God, and it is this point alone which here receives consideration. "The ordinances of the moon and of the stars" mean the established arrangements as regards the phases of the moon, and the rising and setting of the different stars. "From being a nation before me" declares not merely the continuance of Israel as a nation, so that they shall not disappear from the earth, just as so many others perish in the course of ages, but also their continuance before Jahveh, i.e., as His chosen people; cf. Jer 30:20. - This positive promise regarding the continuance of Israel is confirmed by a second simile, in Jer 31:37, which declares the impossibility of rejection. The measurement of the heavens and the searching of the foundations, i.e., of the inmost depths, of the earth, is regarded as an impossibility. God will not reject the whole seed of Israel: here כּל is to be attentively considered. As Hengstenberg correctly remarks, the hypocrites are deprived of the comfort which they could draw from these promises. Since the posterity of Israel are not all rejected, the rejection of the dead members of the people, i.e., unbelievers, is not thereby excluded, but included. That the whole cannot perish "is no bolster for the sin of any single person." The prophet adds: "because of all that they have done," i.e., because of their sins, their apostasy from God, in order to keep believing ones from despair on account of the greatness of their sins. On this, Calvin makes the appropriate remark: Consulto propheta hic proponit scelera populi, ut sciamus superiorem fore Dei clementiam, nec congeriem tot malorum fore obstaculo, quominus Deus ignoscat. If we keep before our mind these points in the promise contained in this verse, we shall not, like Graf, find in Jer 31:37 merely a tame repetition of what has already been said, and be inclined to take the verse as a superfluous marginal gloss.[4]

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Verses 38-39 Edit

Then shall Jerusalem be built up as a holy city of God, and be no more destroyed. After ימים, the Masoretic text wants בּאים, which is supplied in the Qeri. Hengstenberg is of opinion that the expression was abbreviated here, inasmuch as it has already occurred before, several times, in its full form (Jer 31:27 and Jer 31:31); but Jeremiah does not usually abbreviate when he repeats an expression, and באים has perhaps been dropped merely through an error in transcription. "The city shall be built for Jahveh," so that it thenceforth belongs to Him, is consecrated to Him. The extent of the new city is described as being "from the tower of Hananeel to the gate of the corner." The tower of Hananeel, according to Neh 3:1 and Zec 4:10, was situated on the north-east corner of the city wall; the gate of the corner was at the north-west corner of the city, to the north or north-west of the present "Jaffa Gate;" see on 2Ki 14:13; 2Ch 26:9; cf. Zec 14:10. This account thus briefly describes the whole north side. Jer 31:39. The measuring-line (קוה as found here, 1Ki 7:23 and Zec 1:16, is the original form, afterwards shortened into קו, the Qeri) further goes out נגדּו, "before itself," i.e., straight out over the hill Gareb. על does not mean "away towards, or on" (Hitzig); nor is the true reading עד, "as far as, even to," which is met with in several codices: the correct rendering is "away over," so that a part, at least, of the hill was included within the city bounds. "And turns towards Goah." These two places last named are unknown.

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From the context of the passage only this much is clear, that both of them were situated on the west of the city; for the starting-point of the line spoken of is in the north-west, and the valley of Ben-hinnom joins in at the end of it, in the south, Jer 31:40. גּרב means "itching," for גּרב in Lev 21:20; Lev 22:22 means "the itch;" in Arabic also "the leprosy." From this, many expositors infer that the hill Gareb was the hill where lepers were obliged to dwell by themselves, outside the city. This supposition is probable; there is no truth, however, in the assumption of Schleussner, Krafft (Topogr. von Jerus. S. 158), Hitzig, and Hengstenberg, that the hill Bezetha, included within the city bounds by the third wall of Agrippa, is the one meant; for the line described in Jer 31:39 is not to be sought for on the north side of the city. With Graf, we look for the hill Gareb on the mount which lies westward from the valley of Ben-hinnom and at the end of the valley of Rephaim, towards the north (Jos 15:8; Jos 18:16), so that it is likely we must consider it to be identical with "the top of the mountain" mentioned in these passages. This mountain is the rocky ridge which bounds the valley of Ben-hinnom on the west, and stretches northwards, on the west side of the valley of Gihon and the Lower Pool (Birket es Sultân), to near the high road to Jaffa, where it turns off towards the west on the under (i.e., south) side of the Upper Pool (Birket el Mamilla); see on Jos 15:8. It is not, as Thenius supposes (Jerusalem before the Exile, an appendix to his commentary on the Books of Kings), the bare rocky hill situated on the north, and overhanging the Upper Pool; on this view, Goah could only be the steep descent from the plateau into the valley of Kidron, opposite this hill, towards the east. Regarding Goah, only this much can be said with certainty, that the supposition, made by Vitringa and Hengstenberg, of a connection between the name and Golgotha, is untenable; lexical considerations and facts are all against it. Golgotha was situated in the north-west: Goah must be sought for south-west from Jerusalem. The translation of the Chaldee, "cattle-pond," is a mere inference from גּעה, "to bellow." But, in spite of the uncertainty experienced in determining the positions of the hill Gareb and Goah, this much is evident from the verse before us,

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that the city, which is thus to be built anew, will extend to the west beyond the space occupied by old Jerusalem, and include within it districts or spots which lay outside old (i.e., pre-and post-exile) Jerusalem, and which had been divided off from the city, as unclean places.

Verse 40 Edit

In Jer 31:40, without any change of construction, the southern border is described. "The whole valley of the corpses and of the ashes...shall be holy to Jahveh," i.e., be included within the space occupied by the new city. By "the valley of the corpses and of the ashes" expositors generally and rightly understand the valley of Ben-hinnom (פּגרים are the carcases of animals that have been killed, and of men who have been slain through some judgment of God and been left unburied). Jeremiah applies this name to the valley, because, in consequence of the pollution by Josiah of the place where the abominations had been offered to Moloch (2Ki 23:10), it had become a sort of slaughtering-place or tan-yard for the city. According to Lev 6:3, דּשׁן means the ashes of the burnt-offerings consumed on the altar. According to Lev 4:12 and Lev 6:4, these were to be carried from the ash-heap near the altar, out of the city, to a clean place; but they might also be considered as the gross deposit of the sacrifices, and thus as unclean. Hence also it came to pass that all the sweepings of the temple were probably brought to this place where the ashes were, which thus became still more unclean. Instead of השּׁרמות, the Qeri requires השּׁדמות , and, in fact, the former word may not be very different from שׁדמות קדרון, 2Ki 23:4, whither Josiah caused all the instruments used in idolatrous worship to be brought and burned. But it is improbable that שׁרמות is a mere error in transcription for שׁדמות. The former word is found nowhere else; not even does the verb שׁרם occur. The latter noun, which is quite well known, could not readily be written by mistake for the former; and even if such an error had been committed, it would not have gained admission into all the MSS, so that even the lxx should have that reading, and give the word as  ̓Ασαρημώθ, in Greek characters. We must, then, consider שׁרמות as the correct reading, and derive the word from Arab. srm, or s]rm,

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or s[rm, "to cut off, cut to pieces," in the sense of "ravines, hollows" (Arab. s]arm), or loca abscissa, places cut off or shut out from the holy city. "Unto the brook of Kidron," into which the valley of Ben-hinnom opens towards the east, "unto the corner of the horse-gate towards the east." The horse-gate stood on the site of the modern "Dung-gate" (Ba=b el Mogha=riebh), in the wall which ran along from the south-east end of Zion to the western border of Ophel (see on Neh 3:28), so that, in this verse before us, it is the south and south-eastern boundaries of the city that are given; and only the length of the eastern side, which enclosed the temple area, on to the north-eastern corner, has been left without mention, because the valley of the Kidron here formed a strong boundary.
The extent of the new city, as here given, does not much surpass that of old Jerusalem. Only in the west and south are tracts to be included within the city, and such tracts, too, as had formerly been excluded from the old city, as unclean places. Jeremiah accordingly announces, not merely that there will be a considerable increase in the size of Jerusalem, but that the whole city shall be holy to the Lord, the unclean places in its vicinity shall disappear, and be transformed into hallowed places of the new city. As being sacred to the Lord, the city shall no more be destroyed.
From this description of Jerusalem which is to be built anew, so that the whole city, including the unclean places now outside of it, shall be holy, or a sanctuary of the Lord, it is very evident that this prophecy does not refer to the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the exile, but, under the figure of Jerusalem, as the centre of the kingdom of God under the Old Testament, announces the erection of a more spiritual kingdom of God in the Messianic age. The earthly Jerusalem was a holy city only in so far as the sanctuary of the Lord, the temple, had been built in it. Jeremiah makes no mention of the rebuilding of the temple, although he had prophesied the destruction, not only of the city, but also of the temple. But he represents the new city as being, in its whole extent, the sanctuary of the Lord, which the temple only had been, in

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ancient Jerusalem. Cf. as a substantial parallel, Zec 14:10-11. - The erection of Jerusalem into a city, within whose walls there shall be nothing unholy, implies the vanquishment of sin, from which all impurity proceeds; it is also the ripe fruit of the forgiveness of sins, in which the new covenant, which the Lord will make with His people in the days to come, consists and culminates. This prophecy, then, reaches on to the time when the kingdom of God shall have been perfected: it contains, under an old Testament dress, the outlines of the image of the heavenly Jerusalem, which the seer perceives at Patmos in its full glory. This image of the new Jerusalem thus forms a very suitable conclusion to this prophecy regarding the restoration of Israel, which, although it begins with the deliverance of the covenant people from their exile, is yet thoroughly Messianic. Though clothed in an Old Testament dress, it does not implicitly declare that Israel shall be brought back to their native land during the period extending from the time of Cyrus to that of Christ; but, taking this interval as its stand-point, it combines in one view both the deliverance from the exile and the redemption by the Messiah, and not merely announces the formation of the new covenant in its beginnings, when the Christian Church was founded, but at the same time points to the completion of the kingdom of God under the new covenant, in order to show the whole extent of the salvation which the Lord will prepare for His people who return to Him. If these last verses have not made the impression on Graf's mind, that they could well have formed the original conclusion to the prophecy which precedes, the reason lies simply in the theological inability of their expositor to get to the bottom of the sacred writings. The Purchase of a Field as a Symbol of the Restoration of Judah after the Exile
This chapter, after an introduction (Jer 32:1-5) which accurately sets forth the time and circumstances of the following event, contains, first of all (Jer 32:6-15), the account of the purchase of a hereditary field at Anathoth, which Jeremiah, at the divine command, executes in full legal form, together with a statement of the meaning of this purchase; then

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(Jer 32:16-25) a prayer of the prophet for an explanation as to how the purchase of the field could be reconciled with the delivering up of the people and the city of Jerusalem to the Chaldeans; together with (Jer 32:26-35) the Lord's reply, that He shall certainly give up Jerusalem to the Chaldeans, because Israel and Judah, by their sins and their idolatries, have roused His wrath; but (Jer 32:36-44) that He shall also gather again His people out of all the lands whither they have been scattered, and make an everlasting covenant with them, so that they shall dwell safely and happily in the land in true fear of God.

Chap. 32 Edit

Verses 1-5 Edit

Jer 32:1-5The time and the circumstances of the following message from God. - The message came to Jeremiah in the tenth year of Zedekiah, i.e., in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar (cf. Jer 25:1 and Jer 52:12), when the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah was kept in confinement in the fore-court of the royal palace. These historical data are inserted (Jer 32:2-5) in the form of circumstantial clauses: 'ואז חיל וגו, "for at that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem." The siege had begun in the ninth year of Zedekiah (Jer 39:1; Jer 52:4), and was afterwards raised for a short time, in consequence of the approach of an auxiliary corps of Egyptians; but, as soon as these had been defeated, it was resumed (Jer 37:5, Jer 37:11). Jeremiah was then kept confined in the court of the prison of the royal palace (cf. Neh 3:25), "where Zedekiah, king of Judah, had imprisoned him, saying: Why dost thou prophesy, 'Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, so that he shall take it; Jer 32:4. And Zedekiah, the king of Judah, shall not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, but shall assuredly be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon, and his mouth shall speak with his mouth, and his eyes shall behold his eyes; Jer 32:5. And he shall lead Zedekiah to Babylon, and there shall he be until I visit him, saith the Lord. Though ye fight with the Chaldeans, ye shall not succeed?'" - We have already found an utterance of like import in Jer 21:1-14, but that is not here referred to; for it was fulfilled at the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem, and did not bring on Jeremiah the consequences mentioned here. From Jer 37

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we learn that Jeremiah, during the siege of Jerusalem, on till the time when it was raised through the approach of the Egyptian army, had not been imprisoned, but went freely in and out among the people (Jer 37:4.). Not till during the temporary raising of the siege, when he wanted to go out of the city into the land of Benjamin, was he seized and thrown into a dungeon, on the pretence that he intended to go over to the Chaldeans. There he remained many days, till King Zedekiah ordered him to be brought, and questioned him privately as to the issue of the conflict; when Jeremiah replied, "Thou shalt be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon." On this occasion Jeremiah complained to the king of his imprisonment, and requested that he might not be sent back into the dungeon, where he must soon perish; the king then ordered him (Jer 37:11-21) to be taken into the court of the prison-house (חצר , Jer 37:21), where he remained in confinement till the city was taken (Jer 38:13, Jer 38:28; Jer 39:14). The statement in our verses as to the cause of this imprisonment does not contradict, but agrees with the notice in Jer 37, as soon as we perceive that this account contains merely a brief passing notice of the matter. The same holds true of the utterance of the prophet in Jer 32:3-5. Jeremiah, even at the beginning of the siege (Jer 21:3.), had sent a message of similar import to the king, and repeated the same afterwards: Jer 34:3-5; Jer 37:17; Jer 38:17-23. The words of our verses are taken from these repeated utterances; Jer 32:4 agrees almost verbatim with Jer 34:3; and the words, "there shall he remain עד־פּקדי אתו, till I regard him with favour," are based upon the clearer utterance as to the end of Zedekiah, Jer 34:4-5. - The circumstances under which Jeremiah received the following commission from the Lord are thus exactly stated, in order to show how little prospect the present of the kingdom of Judah offered for the future, which was portrayed by the purchase of the field. Not only must the kingdom of Judah inevitably succumb to the power of the Chaldeans, and its population go into exile, but even Jeremiah is imprisoned, in so hopeless a condition, that he is no longer sure of his life for a single day.

Verses 6-7 Edit

Jer 32:6-7The purchase of the field. - In Jer 32:6, the introduction, which has been interrupted by long parentheses, is

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resumed with the words, "And Jeremiah said," etc. The word of the Lord follows, Jer 32:7. The Lord said to him: "Behold, Hanameël, the son of Shallum, thine uncle, cometh to thee, saying, 'Buy thee my field at Anathoth, for thou hast the redemption-right to purchase it.' " According to a mode of construction common elsewhere, דּדך might be taken as in apposition to חנמאל: "Hanameël, son of Shallum, thine uncle." But Jer 32:8, Jer 32:9, in which Jeremiah calls Hanameël בּן־דּדי, son of my uncle, show that דּדך is in apposition to שׁלּם: "son of Shallum, [who is] thine uncle." The right of redemption consisted in this, that if any one was forced through circumstances to sell his landed property, the nearest blood-relation had the right, or rather was obliged, to preserve the possession for the family, either through pre-emption, or redemption from the stranger who had bought it (Lev 25:25). For the land which God had given to the tribes and families of Israel for a hereditary possession could not be sold, so as to pass into the hands of strangers; and for this reason, in the year of jubilee, what had bee sold since the previous jubilee reverted, without payment of any kind, to the original possessor or his heirs. (Cf. Lev 25:23-28, and Keil's Bibl. Archäol. ii. §141, p. 208ff.)

Verses 8-9 Edit

What had been announced to the prophet by God took place. Hanameël came to him, and offered him his field for sale. From this Jeremiah perceived that the proposed sale was the word of the Lord, i.e., that the matter was appointed by the Lord. Jer 32:9. Jeremiah accordingly bought the field, and weighed out to Hanameël "seven shekels and ten the silver" (הכּסף is definite, as being the amount of money asked as price of purchase). But the form of expression is remarkable: "seven shekels and ten" instead of "seventeen" (שׁבעה ועשׂרת שׁקלי הכּסף). The Chaldee consequently has "seven manehs and ten shekels of silver;" and J. D. Michaelis supposes that the seven shekels which are first named, and are separated from the ten, were shekels of gold: "seven shekels of gold, and seven shekels of silver." But both assumptions are gratuitous, and perhaps only inferences, not merely from the unusual separation of the numerals, but likewise from the fact that seventeen silver shekels (less than two pounds sterling) was too small a price for an arable field. The supposition

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of Hitzig has more in its favour, that the mode of expression "seven shekels and ten (shekels) of silver" was a law form. Some have sought to explain the smallness of the price on the ground that the seller was compelled to part with his property through poverty, and that the land had become depreciated in consequence of the war. Both may be true; but, as Nägelsbach has already remarked, neither explains the smallness of the price. For instances have very properly been adduced from Roman history (Livy, xxvi. 11, and Florus, ii. 6) which show that occupation of a country by an enemy did not lessen the value of ground-property. It is rather to be taken into consideration, that in the first place we do not know the real value of arable land among the Hebrews; and secondly, the sale of portions of land was, correctly speaking, only the sale of the harvests up till the year of jubilee, for then the property returned to the former possessor of his heirs. In the case of a sale, then, the nearer the jubilee-year, the smaller must be the price of purchase in the alienation of the land.

Verses 10-15 Edit

The purchase was concluded in full legal form. "I wrote it (the necessary terms) in the letter (the usual letter of purchase), and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed out the money on the balance" (it was then and still is the custom in the East to weigh money). חתם means here, not to append a seal instead of subscribing the name, or for attestation (cf. 1Ki 21:8; Neh 10:1; 2), but to seal up, make sure by sealing (Isa 29:11, etc.). For, from Jer 32:11, Jer 32:12, we perceive that two copies of the bill of purchase were prepared, one sealed up, and the other open; so that, in case the open one were lost, or were accidentally or designedly injured or defaced, a perfect original might still exist in the sealed-up copy. Then "Jeremiah took the bill of purchase, the sealed one," - the specification and the conditions - "and the open one." The words המּצוה והחקּים are in apposition with 'את־ספר וגו. The Vulgate renders stipulationes et rata; Jerome, stipulatione rata, which he explains by stipulationibus et sponsionibus corroborata. מצוה, usually "a command, order," is probably employed here in the general sense of "specification," namely, the object and the price of purchase; חקּים, "statutes," the conditions and stipulations of sale. The apposition has the meaning, "containing the agreement

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and the conditions." Both copies of this bill, the prophet-before the eyes of Hanameël, his cousin (דּדי, either in the general sense of a near relation, since the relationship has been stated exactly enough already, or בּן־ has been inadvertently omitted), and before the eyes of, i.e., in the presence of "the witnesses, who wrote in the letter of purchase," i.e., had subscribed it as witnesses in attestation of the matter, and in the eyes of all the Jews who were sitting in the court of the prison, and in whose presence the transaction had been concluded - delivered up to his attendant Baruch, son of Nerijah, the son of Mahsejah, with the words, Jer 32:14 : "Thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these letters, this sealed-up letter of purchase and this open letter, and put them into an earthen vessel, that they may remain a long time there. Jer 32:15. For thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses, and fields, and vineyards shall still be bought in this land." - The second utterance of the Lord (Jer 32:15) declares the reason why the letters were to be preserved in an earthen vessel, in order to protect them from damp, decay, and destruction, namely, because one could make use of them afterwards, when sale of property would still be taking place. There is also implied the intimation, that the present desolation of the land and the transportation of its inhabitants will only last during their time; and then the population of Judah will return, and enter again on the possession of their land. The purchase of the field on the part of Jeremiah had this meaning; and for the sake of this meaning it was announced to him by God, and completed before witnesses, in the presence of the Jews who happened to be in the court of the prison.

Verses 16-18 Edit

Jer 32:16-18The prayer of Jeremiah. - Although Jeremiah has declared, in the words of the Lord, Jer 32:14., the meaning of the purchase of the field to the witnesses who were present at the transaction, yet the intimation that houses, fields, and vineyards would once more be bought, seemed so improbable, in view of the impending capture and destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, that he betakes himself to the Lord in prayer, asking for further disclosures regarding the future of the people and the land, less for his own sake than for that of the people, who could with difficulty rise to such confidence of faith. The

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prayer runs thus, Jer 32:17 : "Ah, Lord Jahveh! behold, Thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and Thine outstretched arm; to Thee nothing is impossible. Jer 32:18. Thou showest mercy unto thousands, and repayest the iniquity of fathers into the bosom of their children after them, Thou great and mighty God, whose name is Jahveh of hosts. Jer 32:19. Great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the children of men, to give unto every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his works: Jer 32:20. Thou who didst signs and wonders in the land of Egypt until this day, both in Israel and among [other] men, and madest for Thyself a name, as it is this day; Jer 32:21. And didst lead Thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders, and with strong hand and outstretched arm, and with great terror, Jer 32:22. And didst give them this land, which Thou hast sworn to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey; Jer 32:23. And they came and took possession of it, but they hearkened not to Thy voice and walked not in Thy law: all that Thou commandedst them to do they did not, therefore didst Thou cause all this evil to come against them. Jer 32:24. Behold, the besiegers' mounds are come to the city, to take it, and the city will be given into the hands of the Chaldeans, who fight against it, because of the sword, hunger, and pestilence; and what Thou didst speak is come to pass, and, behold, Thou seest it. Jer 32:25. Yet Thou hast said to me, O Lord Jahveh, 'Buy thee the field for money, and take witnesses,' while the city is being delivered into the hands of the Chaldeans."
This prayer contains a laudation of the omnipotence of the Lord and the justice of His dealing among all men (Jer 32:17-19), and especially in the guidance of the people Israel (Jer 32:20-23), with the view of connecting with it the question, how the divine command to buy the field is to be reconciled with the decreed deliverance of the city into the power of the Chaldeans (Jer 32:24, Jer 32:25). Jer 32:17. God proclaims His omnipotence in the creation of the heaven and the earth, cf. Jer 27:5. From this it is plain that nothing is too wonderful for God, i.e., is impossible for Him, Gen 18:14. As Creator and Ruler of the world, God exercises grace and justice. The words of

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Jer 32:18 are a reminiscence and free imitation of the passages Exo 20:5. and Jer 34:7, where the Lord so depicts His dealings in the guidance of men. To "recompense iniquity into the bosom" (see Isa 65:6, cf. Psa 79:12), i.e., to pour into the bosom of the garment the reward for iniquity, so that it may be carried away and borne; cf. Rth 3:15; Pro 17:23. "The great and mighty God," as in Deu 10:17. On "Jahveh of hosts is His name," cf. Jer 10:16; Jer 31:35. שׁמו is to be explained thus: "O Thou great God, whose name is Jahveh of hosts."

Verse 19 Edit

God shows His greatness and might in the wisdom with which He regards the doings of men, and in the power with which He executes His decrees, so as to recompense to every one according to his deeds. On 19a cf. Isa 28:29; Psa 66:5. "To give to every one," etc., is repeated, word for word, from Jer 17:10.

Verses 20-22 Edit

The Lord has further shown this omnipotence and righteousness in His guidance of Israel, in His leading them out of Egypt with wonders and signs; cf. Deu 6:22; Deu 34:11. "Until this day" cannot mean that the wonders continue in Egypt until this day - still less, that their glorious remembrance continues till this day (Calvin, Rosenmüller, etc.). Just as little can we connect the words with what follows, "until this day, in Egypt and among men," as Jerome supposed; although the idea et in Israel et in cunctis mortalibus quotidie tua signa complentur is in itself quite right. Logically considered, "until this day" belongs to the verb. 'ושׂמתּ וגו, and the construction is pregnant, as in Jer 11:7 : "Thou hast done wonders in Egypt, and hast still been doing them until this day in Israel and among other men." "Men," in contrast to "Israel," are mankind outside of Israel - other men, the heathen; on the expression, cf. Jdg 18:7; Isa 43:4; Psa 73:5. "As at this day:" cf. Jer 11:5; Jer 25:18. Through signs and wonders the Lord wrought, leading Israel out of Egypt, and into the land of Canaan, which had been promised to their fathers. Jer 32:21 is almost exactly the same as Deu 26:8, cf. Deu 4:34. מורא refers to the terror spread among the neighbouring nations, Exo 15:14., by the wonders, especially the slaying of the first-born among the Egyptians, Exo 12:30., and the miracle at the Red Sea. On "a land flowing with milk and honey," cf. Exo 3:8.

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Verses 23-25 Edit

These wonders of grace which the Lord wrought for His people, Israel requited with base unthankfulness. When they had got into possession of the land, they did not listen to the voice of their God, and did the reverse of what He had commanded. (The Kethib בתרותך might be read as a plural. But since תּורה in the plural is always written elsewhere תּורת (cf. Gen 26:5; Exo 16:28; Exo 18:20; Lev 26:46, etc.), and the omission of the י in plural suffixes is unusual (cf. Jer 38:22), the word rather seems to have been incorrectly written for בּתורתך (cf. Jer 26:4; Jer 44:10, Jer 44:23), i.e., the w seems to have been misplaced. Therefore the Lord brought on them this great calamity, the Chaldean invasion (תּקרא for תּקרה); cf. Jer 13:22, Deu 31:29. With this thought, the prophet makes transition to the questions addressed to the Lord, into which the prayer glides. In Jer 32:24, the great calamity is more fully described. The ramparts of the besieging enemy have come to the city (בּוא with acc.), to take it, and the city is given (נתּנה, prophetic perfect) into the hands of the Chaldeans. "Because of the sword;" i.e., the sword, famine, and pestilence (cf. Jer 14:16; Jer 25:16, etc.) bring them into the power of the enemy. "What Thou spakest," i.e., didst threaten through the prophets, "is come to pass; and, behold, Thou seest it (viz., what has happened), and yet (ואתּה adversative) Thou sayest to me, 'Buy the field,' " etc. The last clause, 'והעיר נ, is a "circumstantial" one, and is not a part of God's address, but is added by Jeremiah in order to give greater prominence to the contrast between the actual state of matters and the divine command regarding the purchase. The prayer concludes with this, which is for men an inexplicable riddle, not (as Nägelsbach thinks) for the purpose of leaving to the reader the solution of the problem, after all aids have been offered him - for Jeremiah would not need to direct his question to God for that purpose - but in order to ask from God an explanation regarding the future. This explanation immediately follows in the word of the Lord, which, from Jer 32:26 onwards, is addressed to the prophet.

Verses 26-37 Edit

Jer 32:26-37 The answer of the Lord. - Behold, I am Jahveh, the God of all flesh; is there anything impossible to me? Jer 32:28.Therefore, thus saith Jahveh: Behold, I give this city into

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the hand of the Chaldeans, and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar, the king of Babylon, that he may take it. Jer 32:29.The Chaldeans that fight against this city shall come, and shall set fire to this city, and burn it and the houses on whose roofs you have burned incense to Baal and poured out libations to other gods, to provoke me. Jer 32:30.For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have done only what is evil in mine eyes from their youth; for the children of Israel have only provoked me with the work of their hands, saith Jahveh. Jer 32:31.For this city has been to me a burden upon mine anger and upon my wrath from the day that it was built till this day, that I might remove it from before my face;] Jer 32:32.Because of all the wickedness of the children of Israel and the children of Judah, which they have done, to provoke me-they, their kings, their princes, their priests, and their prophets, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Jer 32:33.They turned to me the back and not the face; and though they were constantly being taught, they would not hear so as to receive instruction. Jer 32:34.And they placed their abominations in the house which is called by my name, in order to defile it; Jer 32:35.And built high places to Baal in the valley of Ben-hinnom, to devote their sons and their daughters of Moloch-which I did not command them, nor did it come into my mind that they would do such abomination-that they might lead Judah to sin. Jer 32:36.And now, therefore, thus saith Jahveh, the God of Israel, concerning this city, of which ye say, 'It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon, through the sword, famine, and pestilence:' Jer 32:37.Behold, I shall gather them out of all lands whither I have driven them in my wrath, and in mine anger, and in great rage, and shall bring them back to this place, and make them dwell safely. Jer 32:38.And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. Jer 32:39.And I will give them one heart and one way, to fear me always, for good to them and to their children after them. Jer 32:40.And I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I shall not turn aside form doing them good; and I will put my fear in their heart, that they may not depart from me. Jer 32:41.And I shall rejoice over them, to do them good, and shall plant them in this land, in truth, with my whole heart and

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my whole soul. Jer 32:42.For thus saith Jahveh: 'Just as I have brought all this great evil on this people, so shall I bring on them all the good of which I speak regarding them.' Jer 32:43.And fields shall be bought in this land, of which ye say, It is a desolation, without man or beast, and it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans. Jer 32:44.They shall buy fields for money, and write it in the letter, and seal it up, and take witnesses, in the land of Benjamin, and in the places round Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the hill-country, and in the cities of the plain, and in the cities of the south; for I shall turn again their captivity, saith Jahveh."
The Lord replies to the three points touched on in the prayer of the prophet. First, in Jer 32:27, He emphatically confirms the acknowledgment that to Him, as Creator of heaven and earth, nothing is impossible (Jer 32:17), and at the same time points out Himself as the God of all flesh, i.e., the God on whom depend the life and death of all men. This description of God is copied from Num 16:22; Num 27:16, where Jahveh is called "the God of the spirits of all flesh." "All flesh" is the name given to humanity, as being frail and perishing. - Then God reaffirms that Jerusalem will be given into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar, and be burned by the Chaldeans (Jer 32:28.), because Israel and Judah have always roused His wrath by their idolatry and rebellion against His commands (Jer 32:30-35). The substance of these verses has been often given before. On והצּיתוּ cf. Jer 21:10; Jer 37:8; on אשׁר  cf. Jer 19:13 with Jer 7:9, Jer 7:18. The mention of the children of Israel in connection with the children of Judah is not to be understood as if the destruction of Jerusalem was partly owing to the former; but it is here made, to signify that Judah can expect no better fate than the Israelites, whose kingdom has been destroyed long before, and who have for a long time now been driven into exile. היוּ, "they were only doing," i.e., doing nothing else than what is displeasing to the Lord. In Jer 32:30 "the children of Israel" is a designation of the whole covenant people. The whole sentence has reference to Deu 31:29. "The work of their hands" is not the idols, but signifies the whole conduct and actions of the people. Jer 32:31. The difficult construction היתה־לּי...על־אפּי is most easily explained from the employment of היה על

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with reference to the superincumbency of a duty or burden lying on one. "This city became to me a burden on my wrath," an object which lay upon my wrath, called it forth. No other explanation can be vindicated. The passages Jer 52:3 and 2Ki 24:3, 2Ki 24:20, are of a different character, and the meaning juxta, secundum for על, after 2Ki 6:14 (Hitzig), is quite unsuitable. The words, "from the day when it was built," are not to be referred to the earliest founding of Jerusalem, but to that time when the Israelites first built it; and even in reference to this, they are not to be pressed, but to be viewed as a rhetorically strong expression for, "from its earliest times." Even so early as David's time, opposition against Jahveh showed itself in the conspiracy of Absalom; and towards the end of Solomon's reign, idolatry had been introduced into Jerusalem, 1Ki 11:5. After the words "to remove it from before my face," there follows once more, in Jer 32:32, the reason of the rejection; cf. Jer 7:12; Jer 11:17, and for enumeration of the several classes of the population, Jer 2:26; Jer 17:25. The sins are once more specified, Jer 32:33-35; in Jer 32:33, as a stiff-necked departure from God, and in Jer 32:34. the mention of the greatest abomination of idolatry, the setting up of idols in the temple, and of the worship of Moloch. With 33a cf. Jer 2:27. The inf. abs. ולמּד stands with special emphasis instead of the finite tense: though they were taught from early morn, yet they were inattentive still. On this point cf. Jer 2:13, Jer 2:25; Jer 25:3-4. On לקחת מוּסר cf. Jer 17:23; Jer 7:28. Jer 32:34, Jer 32:35 are almost identical with Jer 7:30-31. לעשׂות וגו does not belong to the relative clause אשׁר לא וגו' (Nägelsbach), but is parallel to להעביר וגו', continuing the main clause: "that they should commit these abominations, and thereby cause Judah to sin," i.e., bring them into sin and guilt. החטי with א dropped; see Jer 19:15. - After setting forth the sin for which Judah had drawn on herself the judgment through the Chaldeans, the Lord proclaims, Jer 32:36., the deliverance of the people from exile, and their restoration; thus He answers the question which had been put to Him, Jer 32:25. ועתּה, "but now," marks what follows as the antithesis to what precedes. "Therefore, thus saith Jahveh," in Jer 32:36, corresponds to the same words in Jer 32:28. Because nothing is impossible to the Lord, He shall, as God of Israel, gather again

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those who have been scattered through every land, and bring them back into their own country. "To this city," - namely, of which ye speak. The suffix of מקבּצם refers to העיר, whose inhabitants are meant. Jerusalem, as the capital, represents the whole kingdom. "The dispersed" are thus, in general, the inhabitants of Judah. Hence, too, from the nature of the case, "this place" is the kingdom of Judah. On this point cf. Eze 36:11, Eze 36:33; Hos 11:11.

Verses 38-44 Edit

Jer 32:38, Jer 32:39 are to be understood like Jer 31:33. They must in very deed become the people of the Lord, for God gives them one heart and one way of life, to fear Him always, i.e., through His Spirit He renews and sanctifies them (Jer 31:33; Jer 24:7; Jer 11:19). "One heart and one way" that they may all with one mind and in one way fear me, no longer wander through many wicked ways (Jer 26:3; Isa 53:6). יראה is an infinitive, as often in Deut., e.g., Jer 4:10, from which the whole sentence has been derived, and Jer 6:24, to which the expression לטוב להם points. The everlasting covenant which the Lord wishes to conclude with them, i.e., the covenant-relationship which He desires to grant them, is, in fact, the new covenant, Jer 31:33. Here, however, only the eternal duration of it is made prominent, in order to comfort the pious in the midst of their present sufferings. Consequently, only the idea of the עולם is mainly set forth: "that I shall not turn away from them, to do them good - no more withdraw from them my gracious benefits;" but the uninterrupted bestowal of these implies also faithfulness to the Lord on the part of the people. The Lord desires to establish His redeemed people in this condition by putting His fear in their heart, namely, through His Spirit; see Jer 31:33-34. ושׂשׂתּי, "And I shall rejoice over them, by doing them good," as was formerly the case (Deu 28:63), and is again to be, in time to come. בּאמת, in truth, properly, "in faithfulness." This expression is strengthened by the addition, "with my whole heart and my whole soul." - So much for the promise of restoration and renewal of the covenant people. This promise is confirmed, Jer 32:42-44, by the assurance that the accomplishment of deliverance shall follow as certainly as the decree of the calamity has done; the change is similar to that in Jer 31:38. Finally, Jer 32:43, Jer 32:44, there is the application made of this to the purchase of the

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field which the prophet had been commanded to fulfil; and the signification of this purchase is thus far determined, that after the restoration of Judah to their own land, fields shall once more be bought in full legal form: with this, the discourse returns to its starting-point, and finishes. The article is used generically in השׂדה; hence, on the repetition of the thought, Jer 32:44, the plural שׂדות is employed instead. The enumeration of the several regions of the kingdom, as in Jer 17:26, is a rhetorical individualization for strengthening the thought. The land of Benjamin is here made prominent in relation to the field purchased by Jeremiah at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. The final sentence 'כּי אשׁיב  also serves for further proof. The Hiphil in this expression does not mean the same as the usual אשׁוּב: "I turn the captivity," i.e., I change the adversity into prosperity. השׁיב expresses restitutio in statum incolumitatis seu integritatis more plainly than שׁוּב - not merely the change of misfortune or misery; but it properly means, to lead back or restore the captivity, i.e., to remove the condition of adversity by restoration of previous prosperity. The expression is analogous to קומם or בּנה חרבות, to build or raise ruins, Isa 44:26; Isa 58:12; Isa 61:4, and קומם שׁממות, to raise up desolate places, Isa 61:4, which does not mean to restore ruins or desolate places, but to build them up into inhabitable places (cf. Isa 61:4), to remove ruins or desolations by the building and restoration of cities.

Chap. 33 Edit

Verse 1 Edit

While Jeremiah was still in confinement in the court of the prison belonging to the palace (see Jer 32:2), the word of the Lord came to him the second time. This word of God is attached by שׁנית to the promise of Jer 32. It followed, too, not long, perhaps, after the other, which it further serves to confirm. - After the command to call on Him, that He might make known to him great and hidden things (Jer 33:2, Jer 33:3), the Lord announces that, although Jerusalem shall be destroyed by the Chaldeans, He shall yet restore it, bring back the captives of Judah and Israel, purify the city from its iniquities, and make it the glory and praise of all the people of the earth (Jer 33:4-9),

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so that in it and in the whole land joy will again prevail (Jer 33:10-13). Then the Lord promises the restoration of the kingdom through the righteous sprout of David - of the priesthood, too, and sacrificial worship (Jer 33:14-18); He promises also the everlasting duration of these two ordinances of grace (Jer 33:19-22), because His covenant with the seed of Jacob and David shall be as enduring as the natural ordinance of day and night, and the laws of heaven and earth (Jer 33:23-26). - The promises thus fall into two parts. First, there is proclaimed the restoration of the people and kingdom to a new and glorious state of prosperity (Jer 33:4-13); then the re-establishment of the monarchy and the priesthood to a new and permanent condition (Jer 33:14-26). In the first part, the promise given in Jer 32:36-44 is further carried out; in the second, the future form of the kingdom is more plainly depicted.

Verses 2-3 Edit

Jer 33:2-3Introduction. - Jer 33:2. "Thus saith Jahveh who makes it, Jahveh who forms it in order to establish it, Jahveh is His name: Jer 33:3. Call on me and I will answer thee, and tell thee great and hidden things which thou knowest not." The reference of the suffixes in עשׂהּ, אותהּ, and הכינהּ is evident from the contents of the propositions: the Lord does what He says, and forms what He wants to make, in order to accomplish it, i.e., He completes what He has spoken and determined on. יצר, to frame, namely, in the mind, as if to think out, just as in Jer 18:11 : the expression is parallel with חשׁב; in this sense also we find Isa 46:11. הכין, to establish, realize what has been determined on, prepare, is also found in Isa 9:6; Isa 40:20, but more frequently in Jeremiah (Jer 10:12; Jer 51:12, Jer 51:15), and pretty often in the Old Testament generally. On the phrase "Jahveh is His name," cf. Jer 31:35. The idea contained in Jer 33:2 reminds us of similar expressions of Isaiah, as in Isa 22:11; Isa 37:26; Isa 46:11, etc.; but this similarity offers no foundation for the doubts of Movers and Hitzig regarding the genuineness of this verse. The same holds as regards Jer 33:3. The first proposition occurs frequently in the Psalms, e.g., Jer 4:4; Jer 28:1; Jer 30:9, also in Jer 7:27; Jer 11:14; but קתא with אל is unusual in Isaiah. The words בּצרות לא  are certainly an imitation of נצרות ולא ידעתּם, Isa 48:6; but they are modified, in the manner peculiar to Jeremiah, by the change of נצרות into בצרות.

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The combination גּדלות וּבצרות noit is elsewhere used only of the strong cities of the Canaanites, Deu 1:28; Deu 9:1; Jos 14:12, cf. Num 13:28; here בּצרות is transferred to things which lie beyond the limits of human power to discover, and become known to men only through divine revelation. There is no good reason for Ewald's change of בצרות in accordance with Isa 48:6. - On the contents of these verses Hengstenberg remarks: "It may seem strange that, though in the opening part the prophet is promised a revelation of greater, unknown things, for which he is to call on God, yet the succeeding announcement contains scarcely anything remarkable or peculiar." Graf also adds the remark of Hitzig, that the command to pray, addressed to Jeremiah, cannot have the effect of keeping us from the conclusion that the verses are an addition by a later hand. Nägelsbach replies that the mode of expression presents nothing specially unlike Jeremiah, and that what is most calculated to give the impression of being unlike Jeremiah's, namely, this introduction in itself, and especially the peculiar turn of Jer 33:3, "Call unto me," etc., is occasioned by the prayer of the prophet, Jer 32:16-25. To this prayer the prophet had received an answer, Jer 32:36-44; but he is here admonished to approach the Lord more frequently with such a request. The God who has the power to execute as well as make decrees is quite prepared to give him an insight into His great thoughts regarding the future; and of this a proof is at once given. Thus, Jer 33:1-3 must be viewed as the connecting link between Jer 32; 33.
Yet these remarks are not sufficient to silence the objections set forth against the genuineness of Jer 33:2, Jer 33:3; for the specializing title of our chapter, in Jer 33:1, is opposed to the close connection which Nägelsbach maintains between Jer 32; 33. The fact that, in Jer 32, Jeremiah addresses the Lord in prayer for further revelation regarding the purchase of the field, as commanded, and that he receives the information he desired regarding it, gives no occasion for warning to the prophet, to betake himself more frequently to God for disclosures regarding His purposes of salvation. And Nägelsbach has quite evaded the objection that Jeremiah does not obey the injunction. Moreover, the succeeding revelation made in vv. 4-26 is not of the nature of a

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"proof," for it does not contain a single great leading feature in God's purposes as regards the future. - Hengstenberg also points out the difficulty, "that the Scripture everywhere refuses to recognise a dead knowledge as true knowledge, and that the hope of restoration has an obstacle in the natural man, who strives to obscure and to extinguish it; that, consequently, the promise of restoration is always new, and the word of God always great and grand;" but what he adduces for the solution of the difficulty contained in the command, "Call on me, and I will show thee great and unknown things," is insufficient for his purpose. The objection which expositors have taken to these verses has arisen from an improper application of them; the words קרא אלי have been understood as referring to the request that God should give some revelation regarding the future, or His purposes of deliverance, and ענה as referring to the communication of His purposes for increasing our knowledge of them. But "to call on God" rather signifies to pray to God, i.e., to beseech Him for protection, or help, or deliverance in time of need, cf. Psa 3:5; Psa 28:1; Psa 30:9; Psa 55:17, etc.; and to "answer" is the reply of God made when He actually vouchsafes the aid sought for; cf. e.g., Psa 55:17, "I call on God, and Jahveh answers me (saves me);" Psa 4:2, Psa 4:4; Psa 18:7; Psa 27:7, etc. Consequently, also, "to make known" (הגּיד) is no mere communication of knowledge regarding great and unknown things, no mere letting them be known, but a making known by deeds. The words עשׂהּ and יוצר אותהּ, ascribed to the Lord, suggest and require that the words should be thus understood. With the incorrect reference of these words to knowing and making known there is connected the further error, that the command, "Call unto me," is directed to the person of the prophet, and gives an admonition for his behaviour towards God, for which the text affords on foundation whatever; for it does not run: "Thus saith Jahveh to me" (אלי), and the insertion of this אלי is unwarranted, and inconsistent with the use of כּי which introduces the announcement. Hitzig, Graf, and others have passed by this כּי without remark; and what Nägelsbach says about it is connected with his view, already refuted, as to the essential unity of Jer 32; 33. Lastly, Ewald has enclosed Jer 33:3 within parentheses, and considers that

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the introductory formula of Jer 33:2 is resumed in Jer 33:4 : "Yea, thus saith Jahveh." This is a conclusion hastily formed by one who is in difficulty, for Jer 33:3 has not the nature of a parenthesis. If we allow the arbitrary addition "to me" after the words, "Thus saith the Lord," Jer 33:2, and if we take the words in their simplest sense - the invocation of the Lord as a call to God for help in need - then Jer 33:2, Jer 33:3 do not contain a mere prelude to the revelation which follows, but an exhortation to the people to betake themselves to the Lord their God in their calamity, when He will make known to them things unattainable by human discernment; for (כּי, Jer 33:4) He announces, in reference to the ruined houses of the city, that He will repair their injuries.

Verses 4-6 Edit

Jer 33:4-6Repair of the injuries and renewal of the prosperity of Jerusalem and Judah. - Jer 33:4. "For thus saith Jahveh, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are broken down because of the besiegers' mounds and because of the sword, Jer 33:5. While they come to fight with the Chaldeans, and to fill them with the corpses of men, whom I have slain in my wrath and in my fury, and for all whose wickedness I have hidden my face from this city: Jer 33:6. Behold, I will apply a bandage to it and a remedy, and will heal them, and will reveal to them abundance of peace and truth. Jer 33:7. And I will turn again the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel, and will build them up as at the first. Jer 33:8. And I will purify them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against me, and will pardon all their iniquities, by which they have sinned and have transgressed against me. Jer 33:9. And it (the city) shall become to me a name of joy, a praise, and an honour among all the people of the earth that shall hear all the good which I do them, and shall tremble and quake because of all the good and because of all the prosperity that I show to it. Jer 33:10. Thus saith Jahveh: Again shall there be heard in this place-of which ye say, 'It is desolate, without man and without beast,'-in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, which are laid waste, without men, and without inhabitants, and without beasts, Jer 33:11. The voice of gladness and the voice of joy, the voice of the bridegroom

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and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who say, 'Praise Jahveh of hosts, for Jahveh is good, for His mercy is for ever,' who bring thank-offerings into the house of Jahveh. For I will turn again the captivity of the land, as in the beginning, saith Jahveh. Jer 33:12. Thus saith Jahveh of hosts: In this place, which is laid waste, without man and beast, and in all its cities, there will yet be pasture-ground for shepherds making their flocks lie down in. Jer 33:13. In the cities of the hill-country, in the cities of the plain, and in the cities of the south, in the land of Benjamin, and in the environs of Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, the flock shall yet pass under the hand of one who counts them, saith Jahveh."
With Jer 33:4 begins the statement concerning the great and incomprehensible things which the Lord will make known to His people; it is introduced by כּי, which marks the ground or reason - so far as the mere statement of these things gives reason for the promise of them. The word of the Lord does not follow till Jer 33:6 and onwards. In Jer 33:4 and Jer 33:5 are mentioned those whom the word concerns - the houses of Jerusalem (Jer 33:4), and the people that defend the city (Jer 33:5). Corresponding to this order, there comes first the promise to the city (Jer 33:6), and then to the people. Along with the houses of the city are specially named also the houses of the kings of Judah; not, perhaps, as Hitzig thinks, because these, being built of stone, afforded a more suitable material for the declared object - for that these alone were built of stone is an unfounded supposition - but in order to show that no house or palace is spared to defend the city. "Which are broken down" refers to the houses, not only of the kings, but also of the city. They are broken, pulled down, according to Isa 22:10, in order to fortify the walls of the city against the attacks of the enemy, partly to strengthen them, partly to repair the damage caused by the battering-rams directed against them. This gives the following meaning to the expression אל־הסּללות ואל־החרב: in order to work against the mounds, i.e., the earthworks erected by the enemy, and against the sword. The sword is named as being the chief weapon, instead of all the instruments of war which the enemy employs for reducing the city; cf. Eze 26:9. It is against the laws of grammar to understand נתשׁים

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as referring to the destruction of the enemy by the siege material; for, on such a supposition, אל־ would require to designate the efficient cause, i.e., to stand for מפּני (cf. Jer 4:26), but neither אל־ nor על can mean this. - The first half of Jer 33:5 is difficult, especially בּאים, which the lxx have omitted, and which Movers and Hitzig would expunge, with the absurd remark, that it has come here from Jer 31:38; this is an easy and frivolous method of setting aside difficulties. All other ancient translations have read בּאים, and have attempted to point out how its genuineness is ascertained on critical grounds.[5]
To connect בּאים closely with what precedes is impossible; and to understand it as referring to the houses, quae dirutae adhibentur ad dimicandum cum Chaldaeis (C. B. Michaelis), is incompatible with the idea contained in בּוא. Still more inadmissible is the view of L. de Dieu, Venema, Schnurrer, Dahler, and Rosenmüller: venientibus ad oppugnandum cum Chaldaeis; according to this view, אּת־כּשׂדּים must be the nominative or subject to להלּחם את־הכּשׂדּים בּאים can only signify, "to contend with the Chaldeans" (against them); cf. Jer 32:5. According to this view, only the Jews can be the subject of בּאים. "They come to make war with the Chaldeans, and to fill them (the houses) with the dead bodies of men, whom I (the Lord) slay in my wrath." The subject is not named, since it is evident from the whole scope of the sentence what is meant. We take the verse as a predication regarding the issues of the conflict - but without a copula; or, as a statement added parenthetically, so that the participle may be rendered, "while they come," or, "get ready, to fight." בּוא, used of the approach of an enemy (cf. Dan 1:1), is here employed with regard to the advance of the Jews to battle

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against the besiegers of the city. The second infinitival clause, "to fill them," represents the issue of the struggle as contemplated by the Jews, in order to express most strongly its utter fruitlessness; while the relative clauses, "whom I have slain," etc., bring out the reasons for the evil consequences. Substantially, the statement in Jer 33:5 is parallel to that in Jer 33:4, so that we might supply the preposition על (ועל): "and concerning those who come to fight," etc. Through the attachment of this second predication to the first by means of the participle, the expression has become obscured. In the last clause, אשׁר is to be connected with על־רעתם.
In view of the destruction of Jerusalem now beginning, the Lord promises, Jer 33:6, "I will apply to it (the city) a bandage (see Jer 30:17) and a remedy," i.e., a bandage which brings healing, "and heal them" (the inhabitants); for, although the suffix in רפאתים might be referred to the houses, yet the following clause shows that it points to the inhabitants. Hitzig takes גּלּיתי in the meaning of גּלל, "I roll to them like a stream," and appeals to Amo 5:24; Isa 48:18; Isa 66:12, where the fulness of prosperity is compared to a stream, and the waves of the sea; but this use of גּלה is as uncertain here as in Jer 11:20. We keep, then, to the well-established sense of revealing, making known (cf. Psa 98:2, where it is parallel with הודיע), without any reference to the figure of sealed treasure-chambers (Deu 28:12), but with the accessory notion of the unfolding of the prosperity before all nations (Jer 33:9), as in Psa 98:2. עתרת is here to be taken as a noun, "fulness, wealth," from עתר, an Aramaizing form for עשׁר, to be rich (Eze 35:13). שׁלום ואמת does not mean "prosperity and stability," but "peace and truth;" but this is not to be toned down to "true peace," i.e., real, enduring happiness (Nägelsbach). אמת is the truth of God, i.e., His faithfulness in His promises and covenants, as in Psa 85:11-12, where mercy and truth, righteousness and peace, are specified as the gracious benefits with which the Lord blesses His people.

Verse 7 Edit

The attainment of this prosperity consists in the change of the wretchedness and misery of Judah and Israel (the whole covenant people) into permanent happiness, and their being built up - i.e., the firm establishment of their civil prosperity through the secure possession and enjoyment

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of the good things of the land - as in the beginning, i.e., the time previous to the rending of the state through the falling away of the people into idolatry; cf. Isa 1:26; 1Ki 13:6. For השׁיב את  see Jer 32:44.

Verse 8 Edit

This prosperity gains stability and permanence through the people's being cleansed from their sins by their being forgiven, which, according to Jer 31:34, will form the basis of the new covenant. Regarding the anomalous form לכול for לכל־ rof לכול mro, Hitzig supposes that in the scriptio continua a transcriber wished to keep the two datives לך לעונותיהם separate by inserting the ו. But the form כּוּלּם, Jer 31:34, is equally irregular, except that there the insertion of the ו may be explained in this, or in some similar way.

Verses 9-11 Edit

In consequence of the renovation of Israel externally and internally, Jerusalem will become to the Lord a name of delight, i.e., a name which affords joy, delight. שׁם here signifies, not fame, but a name. But the name, as always in Scripture, is the expression of the essential nature; the meaning therefore is, "she will develope into a city over which men will rejoice, whenever her name is mentioned." On the following words, "for praise and for glory," i.e., for a subject of praise, etc., cf. Jer 13:11. לכל־גּויי, "to all," or "among all nations." How far Jerusalem becomes such is shown by the succeeding clauses: "who shall hear...and tremble and quake because of the good," i.e., not from fear "because they are seized with terror through these proofs of the wonderful power of God in contrast with the helplessness of their idols, and through the feeling of their miserable and destitute condition as contrasted with the happiness and prosperity of the people of Israel" (Graf). Against this usual view of the words, it has already been remarked in the Berleburger Bible, that it does not agree with what precedes, viz., with the statement that Jerusalem shall become a name of joy to all nations. Moreover, פּחד and רגז, in the sense of fear and terror, are construed with מפּני or מן; here, they signify to shake and tremble for joy, like פּחד in Isa 60:5, cf. Hos 3:5, i.e., as it is expressed in the Berleburger Bible, "not with a slavish fear, but with the filial fear of penitents, which will also draw and drive them to the reconciled God in Christ, with holy fear and trembling." Calvin had previously recognised this Messianic

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idea, and fitly elucidated the words thus: haec duo inter se conjuncta, nempe pavor et tremor, qui nos humiliet coram Deo, et fiducia quae nos erigat, ut audeamus familiariter ad ipsum accedere. אותם may be for אתּם, cf. Jer 1:16; but probably עשׂה is construed with a double accusative, as in Isa 42:16.
The prosperity which the Lord designs to procure for His people, is, Jer 33:10-13, further described in two strophes (Jer 33:10-11 and Jer 33:12-13); in Jer 33:10, Jer 33:11, the joyous life of men. In the land now laid waste, gladness and joy shall once more prevail, and God will be praised for this. The description, "it is desolate," etc., does not imply the burning of Jerusalem, Jer 52:12., but only the desolation which began about the end of the siege. "In this place" means "in this land;" this is apparent from the more detailed statement, "in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem." "The voice of gladness," etc., forms the subject of the verb ישּׁמע. On the expression see Jer 7:34; Jer 16:9; Jer 25:10. There is here added: "the voice of those who say, 'Praise the Lord,' " etc. - the usual liturgic formula in thanksgiving to God; cf. 2Ch 5:13; 2Ch 7:3; Ezr 3:11; Psa 106:1. תּודה, praise and thanks in word and deed; see Jer 17:26. On אשׁיב את־שׁבוּת see Jer 32:44. The rendering, "I shall bring back the captives of the land" (here as in Jer 33:7), is both grammatically indefensible, and further, unsuitable: (a) inappropriate, on account of כּבראשׁנה, for no previous restoration of captives had taken place; the leading of the people out of Egypt is never represented as a bringing back from captivity. And (b) it is grammatically untenable, because restoration to Canaan is expressed either by אל־הארץ  הביא, after Deu 30:5; or by השׁיב, with the mention of the place (); cf. Jer 16:15; Jer 24:6; Jer 32:37, etc.

Verses 12-13 Edit

In the land which is now laid waste, and emptied of men and beasts, shepherds, with their flocks, shall again move about and lie down. "This place," is specified by the mention of the several parts of the land, as in Jer 32:44; Jer 17:26. על־ידי מונה, at the hands, i.e., under the guidance, of him who counts them, viz., the shepherd, who counted the sheep when he took them out to the pasture as well as when he brought them back into the fold; cf. Virgil, Ecl. iii. 34.

Verses 14-26 Edit

Jer 33:14-26The re-establishment of the Davidic monarchy

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and of the Levitical priesthood. - Jer 33:14. "Behold, days are coming, saith Jahveh, when I will perform the good word which I have spoken to the house of Israel, and concerning the house of Judah. Jer 33:15. In those days and at that time will I cause to sprout unto David a sprout of righteousness, and he shall do judgment and righteousness in the land. Jer 33:16. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely; and this is how she shall be called, 'Jahveh our righteousness.' Jer 33:17. For thus saith Jahveh: David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel. Jer 33:18. Nor shall the Levitical priests want a man before me to offer a burnt-offering, to burn a meat-offering, or to perform sacrifice every day.
Jer 33:19. "And the word of Jahveh came unto Jeremiah, saying: Jer 33:20. Thus saith Jahveh, If ye shall be able to break my covenant (with) the day and my covenant (with) the night, so that there shall not be day and night in their proper time, Jer 33:21. Then also shall my covenant with David my servant be broken, so that he shall not have a son to reign upon his throne, and with the Levites, the priests, my ministers. Jer 33:22. As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites who serve me.
Jer 33:23. "And the word of Jahveh came to Jeremiah, saying: Jer 33:24. Hast thou not seen what this people have spoken, saying, 'The two families which the Lord hath chosen, these He hath rejected?' and my people they have despised, so that they are no longer a nation before them. Jer 33:25. Thus saith Jahveh: If my covenant with day and night doth not exist, if I have not appointed the laws of heaven and earth, Jer 33:26. Then also will I reject the seed of Jacob and David my servant, so as not to take any of his seed as rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will turn their captivity, and take pity on them."

Verses 14-21 Edit

Jer 33:14-18 contain the promise of the restoration of the monarchy and the priesthood. Jer 33:19-26 further present two special messages from God, in the form of supplements, which guarantee the eternal continuance of these institutions.[6]
The promise in Jer 33:14-16 has already been given in substance in Jer 23:5-6, and in our verses it is only formally extended, and thereby made more prominent. In Jer 33:14 it is designated as the establishment, i.e., the realization, of the good word which the Lord has spoken concerning Israel and Judah. "The good word" is, according to Deu 28:1-14, the blessing which the Lord has promised to His people if they obey His commands; cf. 1Ki 8:56. Here also must "the good word" be taken in the same general meaning; for our verse forms the transition from the promise of the restoration and blessing of Israel in the future (Jer 33:6-13) to the special promise of the renewal and completion of the Davidic monarchy (Jer 33:15.). In Jer 29:10, on the contrary, "the good word" is specially referred, by the following infinitival clause, to the deliverance of the people from Babylon. But it is unlikely

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that "the good word" refers to the "sprout" of David, which is expressly promised in Jer 23:5., and repeated here, Jer 33:15.; for here a like promise to the Levites follows, while there is none in Jer 23, and it is here so closely linked with the promise regarding David, that it must be viewed as a portion of the "good word." In the change from אל to על in Jer 33:14, we must not, with Hengstenberg, seek a real difference; for in Jeremiah these prepositions often interchange without any difference of meaning, as in Jer 11:2; Jer 18:11; Jer 23:35, etc. The blessing promised to the people in the "good word" culminates in the promise, Jer 33:15., that the Lord will cause a righteous sprout to spring up for David. On the meaning of this promise, see the remarks on Jer 23:5-6. The difference made in the repetition of that promise is really unimportant. אצמיח instead of הקמתי does not change the sense. הצמיח, to cause to sprout of grow, corresponds to the figure of the צמח, under which the Messiah is represented in both passages. צמח צדקה is only a more sonorous expression for צמח צדּיק. The words "He shall rule as king and deal wisely," which in Jer 23:5 bring into prominence the contrast between the kingdom of the Messiah and that of the godless shepherd of the people, were unnecessary for the connection of our passage. Besides, in Jer 23:6 Israel is named together with Judah, instead of which, we have here, in Jer 33:16, Jerusalem; accordingly, the name "Jahveh Tsidkenu" is referred to Jerusalem, while in Jer 23:6 it is predicated of the sprout of David. The mention of Jerusalem instead of Israel is connected with the general scope of our prophecy, viz., to comfort the covenant people over the destruction of Jerusalem (Jer 33:4.). But that, through the mention simply of Judah and its capital, the ten tribes are not to be excluded from participation in the coming prosperity, may be seen even from Jer 33:14, where "the good word" is referred to Israel and Judah, and still more plainly from Jer 33:24, Jer 33:26, where this promise is made sure to the whole seed of Israel. The transference of the name Jahveh Tsidkenu from the sprout of David to the city of Jerusalem is connected with the fact, that the name only expresses what the Messiah will bring to the people (see Jer 23:6); the righteousness which He works in and on Jerusalem may, without changing the substance of the thought, be attributed to Jerusalem itself, inasmuch as Jerusalem reflects the righteousness which is bestowed on her by the Messiah.
This promise is, Jer 33:17, further confirmed by the renewal of that which the Lord had given King David, through Nathan the prophet, 2Sa 7:12-16, and that, too, in the form in which David himself had expressed it in his address to Solomon, shortly before his death, 1Ki 2:4, and in which Solomon had repeated it, 1Ki 8:25 and 1Ki 9:5. The formula לא יכּרת וגו, "there never will be cut off from David one sitting," etc., has the meaning, David will never want a descendant to occupy his throne; or, the posterity of David will possess the kingdom for ever. A temporary loss of the throne is not thereby excluded, but only such a permanent loss as

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would be caused by the family of David becoming extinct, or by the kingdom in Israel either passing over to some other family, or in some way or other coming to an end; see on 1Ki 2:4. - The very same promise is given to the Levitical priests, i.e., the priests of the tribe or family of Levi (כּהנים as in Deu 17:9, Deu 17:18; Deu 18:1, etc.). They shall never want one to bring and prepare an offering before the Lord. Burnt-offering, meat-offering, and sin-offering are the three species of sacrifice which were to be brought, according to the law, as in Jer 17:26. By means of the apposition "the Levites," the priests are designated as the legitimate priesthood, established as such in virtue of God's choice of the tribe of Levi, in contrast with priests such as Jeroboam appointed, out of the common people, for the worship set up by him. Not only shall Israel have priests, but priests out of the tribe of Levi, which was chosen by God for the sacerdotal office, as the medium of communicating His gracious gifts. The designation of the priests as "the Levites" corresponds, accordingly, to the kings of the family of David. Such a view explains this addition to our passage, to which critics such as Hitzig have taken objection. The Davidic kingdom and the Levitical priesthood were the two pillars and bases of the Old Testament theocracy, on which its existence and continuance depended. The priesthood formed the medium of approach for the people into divine favour. The kingdom assured them of the divine guidance.[7]
Both of these pillars were broken with the destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple; the theocracy the appeared to have ceased to exist. At this time, when the kingdom, with its ordinances of justice and of grace, bestowed by God, was being dissolved, the Lord, in order to keep His people from despair, declares that these two institutions, in accordance with His promise, shall not fall to the ground, but shall stand for ever. By this, God's own people received a pledge for the re-establishment and renovation of the kingdom of God. Such is the object of this promise. - As to the kind and mode of reinstitution

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of both of these ordinances, which were abolished when the state came to ruin, the prophecy now before us gives no explanation; but in the emphatic confirmation of the prophecy which follows, we find brief indications which clearly show that the restoration spoken of will not be a reinstitution of the old form which is now perishing, but a renovation of it, in its essential features, to a permanent existence.
The confirmations of these promises, which follow them in Jer 33:19-26, are each introduced by separate headings, perhaps not merely to render them more prominent, but because the Lord revealed them separately to the prophet; but it by no means follows from this that they are later additions, without any connection. Jer 33:20. "If ye shall break my covenant with the day,...then also will my covenant with broken." This if betokens the impossible; man cannot alter the arrangement in nature for the regular alternation of day and night. היום and הלּילה are in apposition to בּריתי, "my covenant the day - the night," for "my covenant with regard to the day and the night, which is this, that day and night shall return at their appointed times." The ו before לבלתּי is explanatory. יומם־ולילה are adverbs, "day and night," for "the regular alternation of day and night." These divine arrangements in nature are called a covenant; because God, after the flood, gave a pledge that they should uninterruptedly continue, in a covenant made with the human race; cf. Gen 9:9 with Gen 8:22. As this covenant of nature cannot be broken by men, so also the covenant of grace of the Lord with David and the Levites cannot be broken, i.e., annulled. The covenant with David consisted in the promise that his kingdom should endure for ever (see Jer 33:17); that with the Levites, in the eternal possession of the right to the priesthood. The institution of the priesthood is certainly not represented in the law as a covenant; it consisted merely in the choice of Aaron and his sons as priests by God, Exo 28:1. But, inasmuch as they were thereby brought into a peculiar relation to the Lord, and thus had vouchsafed to them not merely privileges and promises, but also had laid on them duties, the fulfilment of which was a condition of receiving the privileges, this relation might be called a covenant; and indeed, in Num 25:11., the promise

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given to Phinehas, that he should have the priesthood as an eternal possession, is called a covenant of peace and an eternal covenant of priesthood. This promise concerned the whole priesthood in the person of Phinehas, and the Levites also, inasmuch as the Levites were given to the priests; hence there is mention made in Mal 2:4, Mal 2:8, of a covenant with Levi. In this prophecy, too, mention is made of the priests alone. The general idea contained in the words "the Levites," placed first, is more clearly defined by the apposition "the priests," and restricted to the priests of the tribe of Levi.

Verses 22-26 Edit

In order to make still more impressive the pledge given, that the covenant with David and the Levitical priesthood can never be broken, the Lord adds the promise of a numerous increase of the seed of David and the Levites. אשׁר as correlative to כּן stands for כּאשׁר; for in the accusative lies the general reference to place, time, kind, and manner; cf. Ew. §360 a, 333 a. The comparison with the innumerable host of stars and the immeasurable quantity of the sand reminds us of the patriarchal promises, Gen 15:5; Gen 22:17. In this way, the promises that apply to all Israel are specially referred to the family of David and the Levites ("the Levites," Jer 33:22, is abbreviated from "the Levites, the priests," Jer 33:21). This transference, however, is not a mere hyperbole which misses the mark; for, as Jahn observes, an immense increase of the royal and priestly families would only have been a burden on the people (Graf). The import of the words of the verse is simply that the Lord purposes to fulfil the promise of His blessing, made to the patriarchs in favour of their whole posterity, in the shape of a numerous increase; but this promise will now be specially applied to the posterity of David and to the priests, so that there shall never be wanting descendants of David to occupy the throne, nor Levites to perform the service of the Lord. The question is not about a "change of the whole of Israel into the family of David and the tribe of Levi" (Hengstenberg); and if the increase of the family of David and the Levites correspond in multitude with the number of all the people of Israel, this increase cannot be a burden on the people. But the question, whether this promise is to be understood literally, of the increase of the ordinary descendants of David and the

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Levites, or spiritually, of their spiritual posterity, cannot be decided, as Hengstenberg and Nägelsbach think, by referring to the words of the Lord in Exo 19:6, that all Israel shall be a kingdom of priests, and to the prophetic passages, Isa 66:6, Isa 66:23., according to which the whole people shall be priests to God, while Levites also shall be taken from among the heathen. For this prophecy does not treat of the final glory of the people of God, but only of the innumerable increase of those who shall attain membership in the family of David and the Levitical priests. The question that has been raised is rather to be decided in accordance with the general promises regarding the increase of Israel; and in conformity with these, we answer that it will not result from the countless increase of the descendants of Jacob according to the flesh, but from the incorporation, among the people of God, of the heathen who return to the God of Israel. As the God-fearing among the heathen will be raised, for their piety, to be the children of Abraham, and according to the promise, Isa 66:20., even Levitical priests taken from among them, so shall the increase placed in prospect before the descendants of David and Levi be realized by the reception of the heathen into the royal and sacerdotal privileges of the people of God under the new covenant.
This view of our verse is confirmed by the additional proof given of the promised restoration of Israel, Jer 33:23-26; for here there is assurance given to the seed of Jacob and David, and therefore to all Israel, that they shall be kept as the people of God. The occasion of this renewed confirmation was the allegation by the people, that the Lord had rejected the two families, i.e., Israel and Judah (cf. Jer 31:27, Jer 31:31; Jer 32:20), called, Isa 8:14, the two houses of Israel. With such words they despised the people of the Lord, as being no longer a people before them, i.e., in their eyes, in their opinion. That those who spoke thus were Jews, who, on the fall of the kingdom of Judah, despaired of the continuance of God's election of Israel, is so very evident, that Hengstenberg may well find it difficult to understand how several modern commentators could think of heathens - Egyptians (Schnurrer), Chaldeans (Jahn), Samaritans (Movers), or neighbours of the Jews and

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of Ezekiel on the Chebar (Hitzig). The verdict pronounced on what these people said, "they despise, or contemn, my people," at once relieves us from any need for making such assumptions, as soon as we assign the full and proper force to the expression "my people" = the people of Jahveh. Just as in this passage, so too in Jer 29:32, "this people" is interchanged with "my people" as a designation of the Jews. Moreover, as Graf correctly says, the expression "this people" nowhere occurs in the prophets of the exile as applied to the heathen; on the contrary, it is very frequently employed by Jeremiah to designate the people of Judah in their estrangement from the Lord: Jer 4:10; Jer 5:14, Jer 5:23; Jer 6:19; Jer 7:33; Jer 8:5; Jer 9:14; Jer 13:10; Jer 14:10; Jer 15:1, Jer 15:20, and often elsewhere. "My people," on the other hand, marks Judah and Israel as the people of God. In contrast with such contempt of the people of God, the Lord announces, "If my covenant with day and night does not stand, if I have not appointed the laws of heaven and earth, then neither shall I cast away the seed of Jacob." The לא is repeated a second time before the verb. Others take the two antecedent clauses as one: "If I have not made my covenant with day and night, the laws of heaven and earth." This construction also is possible; the sense remains unchanged. בּריתי יומם ולילה is imitated from Jer 33:20. "The laws of heaven and earth" are the whole order of nature; cf. Jer 31:35. The establishment, institution of the order of nature, is a work of divine omnipotence. This omnipotence has founded the covenant of grace with Israel, and pledged its continuance, despite the present destruction of the kingdom of Judah and the temporary rejection of the guilty people. But this covenant of grace includes not merely the choosing of David, but also the choosing of the seed of Jacob, the people of Israel, on the ground of which David was chosen to be the ruler over Israel. Israel will therefore continue to exist, and that, too, as a nation which will have rulers out of the seed of David, the servant of the Lord. "The mention of the three patriarchs recalls to mind the whole series of the promises made to them" (Hengstenberg). The plural משׁלים does not, certainly, refer directly to the promise made regarding the sprout of David, the Messiah, but at the same time does not stand in contradiction with

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it; for the revival and continued existence of the Davidic rule in Israel culminates in the Messiah. On כּי cf. Jer 31:23; Jer 30:3, Jer 30:18, and the explanations on Jer 32:44. The Qeri אשׁיב rests on Jer 33:11, but is unnecessary; for אשׁוּב makes good enough sense, and corresponds better to ורחמתּים, in so far as it exactly follows the fundamental passage, Deu 30:3, where רחם is joined with שׁוּב את־שׁבוּת. I. The Labour and Suffering of the Prophet Before and after the Conquest and Destruction of Jerusalem - Jeremiah 34-45
Under this title may be placed the whole of the contents of these twelve chapters, which fall into three divisions. For Jer 34-36 contain partly utterances of Jeremiah in the early part of the siege of Jerusalem under Zedekiah, partly matters of fact in Jehoiakim's time. Next, mention is made, in Jer 37-39, of the toils and sufferings of the prophet during that siege, until the fall of the city; then, in Jer 40-44, is depicted his active labour among the people who had been left behind in the land by the Chaldeans, and who afterwards fled to Egypt; finally, as an appendix to the account of his labours among the people, we find, in Jer 45:1-5, the words of comfort addressed to Baruch by Jeremiah. The second of these divisions is marked by a historical introduction, Jer 37:1-2, and the third by a somewhat lengthened prophetic heading. Only Jer 34-36, which we regard as the first division, seems to be without an external bond of unity. Graf, Ewald, Nägelsbach, and others have consequently marked them as appendixes; but in this way neither their position nor their connection is at all accounted for. The relation of Jer 34 to the following is analogous to that of Jer 21:1-14. Just as the collection of special announcements regarding judgment and deliverance, Jer 21:1-14, was introduced by the utterances of the prophet in the beginning of the last siege of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans; so too, in our third division, the collected evidences of the labours of Jeremiah before and after the

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destruction of Jerusalem, are introduced, Jer 34, by the utterances which predict quite definitely what shall be the issue of the siege of the city and the fate of the king and people. The first of these utterances is set in a frame of historical statements regarding the siege (Jer 34:1, Jer 34:7); this setting marks it out as an introduction to the notices following. But the second utterance, Jer 34:8-22, refers to the fact of the manumission of the Hebrew men-and maid-servants during the siege, and the cancelling of that measure afterwards. The following chapters, Jer 35, 36, furnish two proofs of the activity of the prophet under Jehoiakim, which, on account of their historical nature, could not be introduced till now, since they would not admit of being inserted in the collection of the particular prophecies of coming judgment, Jer 21-29.
A. Prophecies Delivered under Zedekiah, and Events of Jehoiakim's Time - Jeremiah 34-36
Concerning Zedekiah and the Emancipation of the Men-and Maid-Servants - Jeremiah 34
This chapter contains two prophecies of the time of the siege of Jerusalem under Zedekiah, of which the first, Jer 34:1-7, announces to the king the fruitlessness of resistance to the power of the Chaldeans; the second, Jer 34:8-22, threatens the princes and people of Judah with severe judgments for annulling the manumission of the Hebrew men-and maid-servants. Both of these utterances belong to the first period of the siege, probably the ninth year of the reign of Zedekiah.

Chap. 34 Edit

Verse 1 Edit

Jer 34:1The message to Zedekiah is regarded by Hitzig, Ewald, Graf, Nägelsbach, etc. as a supplement to Jer 32:1., and as giving, in its complete form, the prophecy to which Jer 32:3. was referred, as the reason of the confinement of Jeremiah in the court of the prison. Certainly it is so far true that Jeremiah, in Jer 34:2-5, expresses himself more fully regarding the fate of King Zedekiah at the fall of Jerusalem into the hands of the Chaldeans than in Jer 32:3-5; Jer 21:3., and Jer 37:17; but we are not warranted in drawing the inference that this message forms a historical appendix or supplement to Jer 32:3,

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and was the occasion or reason of Jeremiah's imprisonment. See, on the contrary, the remarks on Jer 32:3. It is not given here as an appendix to explain the reason of the prophet's imprisonment, but as a prophecy from which we may see how King Zedekiah was forewarned, from the very beginning of the siege, of what its issue would be, that he might frame his conduct accordingly. Nor does it belong to the period when Nebuchadnezzar, after beating off the Egyptians who had come to the relief of the beleaguered city, had returned to the siege of Jerusalem, but to the earliest period of the siege, when Zedekiah might still cherish the hope of defeating and driving off the Chaldeans through the help of the Egyptians. - According to Jer 34:1, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah when "Nebuchadnezzar and," i.e., with, "all his host, and all the kingdoms of the land of the dominion of his hand, and all the nations, were fighting against Jerusalem and all her towns." The words are multiplied to represent the strength of the Chaldean army, so as to deepen the impression of overpowering might, against which resistance is vain. The army consists of men drawn from all the kingdoms of the territory he rules, and of all nations. ארץ ממשׁלת means the same as ארץ ממשׁלתּו, Jer 51:28, the territory over which his dominion, which includes many kingdoms, extends. The lxx have omitted "all the nations" as superfluous. See a like conglomeration of words in a similar description, Eze 26:7. "All her towns" are the towns of Judah which belong to Jerusalem; see Jer 19:15. According to Jer 34:7, the strong towns not yet taken are meant, especially those strongly fortified, Lachish and Azekah in the plain (Jos 15:39, Jos 15:35), the former of which is shown still under the name Um Lakhis, while the latter is to be sought for in the vicinity of Socho; see on Jos 10:3, Jos 10:10, and 2Ch 11:9. - Jeremiah is to say to the king:

Verses 2-7 Edit

Jer 34:2-7"Thus saith Jahveh: Behold, I will deliver this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, that he may burn it with fire. Jer 34:3. And thou shalt not escape from his hand, but shalt certainly be seized and delivered into his hand; and thine eyes shall see the eyes of the king of Babylon, and his mouth shall speak with thy mouth, and thou shalt go to Babylon. Jer 34:4. But hear the word of Jahveh, O Zedekiah, king

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of Judah. Thus saith Jahveh concerning thee: Thou shalt not die by the sword. Jer 34:5. In peace shalt thou die; and as with the burnings of thy fathers, the former kings who were before thee, so shall they make a burning for thee, and they shall wail for thee, [crying,] 'Alas, lord!' for I have spoken the word, saith Jahveh. - On Jer 34:2, Jer 34:3, cf. Jer 32:3-5. "But hear," Jer 34:4, introduces an exception to what has been said before; but the meaning of Jer 34:4, Jer 34:5 is disputed. They are usually understood in this say: Zedekiah shall be carried into exile to Babylon, but shall not be killed with the sword, or executed, but shall die a peaceful death, and be buried with royal honours. But C. B. Michaelis, Venema, Hitzig, and Graf take the words as an exception that will occur, should Zedekiah follow the advice given him to deliver himself up to the king of Babylon, instead of continuing the struggle. Then what is denounced in Jer 34:3 will not happen; Zedekiah shall not be carried away to Babylon, but shall die as king in Jerusalem. This view rests on the hypothesis that the divine message has for its object to induce the king to submit and give up himself (cf. Jer 38:17.). But this supposition has no foundation; and what must be inserted, as the condition laid before Zedekiah, "if thou dost willingly submit to the king of Babylon," is quite arbitrary, and incompatible with the spirit of the word, "But hear the word of Jahveh," for in this case Jer 34:4 at least would require to run, "Obey the word of Jahveh" (שׁמע בּדבר ), as Jer 38:20. To take the words שׁמע דברin the sense, "Give ear to the word, obey the word of Jahveh," is not merely inadmissible grammatically, but also against the context; for the word of Jahveh which Zedekiah is to hear, gives no directions as to how he is to act, but is simply an intimation as to what the end of his life shall be: to change or avert this does not stand in his power, so that we cannot here think of obedience or disobedience. The message in Jer 34:4, Jer 34:5 states more in detail what that was which lay before Zedekiah: he shall fall into the hands of the king of Babylon, be carried into exile in Babylon, yet shall not die a violent death through the sword, but die peacefully, and be buried with honour - not, like Jehoiakim, fall in battle, and be left unmourned and unburied (Jer 22:18.). This intimation accords with the notices

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given elsewhere as to the end of Zedekiah (Jer 32:5; Jer 39:5-7). Although Zedekiah died a prisoner in Babylon (Jer 52:11), yet his imprisonment would not necessarily be an obstacle in the way of an honourable burial after the fashion of his fathers. When Jehoiachin, after an imprisonment of thirty-seven years, was raised again to royal honours, then also might there be accorded not merely a tolerably comfortable imprisonment to Zedekiah himself, but to the Jews also, at his death, the permission to bury their king according to their national custom. Nor is anything to be found elsewhere contrary to this view of the words. The supposition that Zedekiah caused the prophet to be imprisoned on account of this message to him, which Nägelsbach has laboured hard to reconcile with the common acceptation of the passage, is wholly devoid of foundation in fact, and does not suit the time into which this message falls; for Jeremiah was not imprisoned till after the time when the Chaldeans were obliged for a season to raise the siege, on the approach of the Egyptians, and that, too, not at the command of the king, but by the watchman at the gate, on pretence that he was a deserter. "Thou shalt die in peace," in contrast with "thou shalt die by the sword," marks a peaceful death on a bed of sickness in contrast with execution, but not (what Graf introduces into the words) in addition, his being deposited in the sepulchre of his fathers. "With the burnings of thy fathers," etc., is to be understood, according to 2Ch 16:14; 2Ch 21:19, of the burning of aromatic spices in honour of the dead; for the burning of corpses was not customary among the Hebrews: see on 2Ch 16:14. On "alas, lord!" see Jer 22:18. This promise is strengthened by the addition, "for I have spoken the word," where the emphasis lies on the אני: I the Lord have spoken the word, which therefore shall certainly be fulfilled. - In Jer 34:6, Jer 34:7 it is further remarked in conclusion, that Jeremiah addressed these words to the king during the siege of Jerusalem, when all the cities of Judah except Lachish and Azekah were already in the power of the Chaldeans. ערי is not in apposition to ערי יהוּדה, but belongs to נשׁארוּ: "they were left among the towns of Judah as strong cities;" i.e., of the strong cities of Judah, they alone had not yet been conquered.

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Verses 8-11 Edit

Threatening because of the Re-enslavement of the Liberated Hebrew Men-and Maid-servants. - Jer 34:8-11 describe the occasion of the word of the Lord, which follows in Jer 34:12-22. It came to Jeremiah "after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty to them, that every one should send away his man-servant, or his maid-servant, being a Hebrew or Hebrewess, so that none should impose servitude on any one of them who was a Jew, his brother. Jer 34:10. And all the princes and all the people who entered into the covenant obeyed, each one setting free his man-servant and his maid-servant, and not imposing servitude on them any more: they obeyed and each one set them free. Jer 34:11. But they turned round afterwards, and brought back the servants and the handmaids whom they had set free, and brought them under subjection, for servants and for handmaids." The covenant which Zedekiah concluded with all the people at Jerusalem, according to what follows, consisted in a solemn vow made before the Lord in the temple, probably confirmed by sacrifices, to set free the male and female slaves of Hebrew descent, in conformity with the law, Exo 21:1-4; Deu 15:12.
The law required the gratuitous manumission of these after seven years of service. This time, indeed, is not mentioned in our verses, but it is assumed as well known through the law. But, in the general departure of the people from the Lord and His commandments, the observance of this law had probably long been intermitted, so that, in consequence of the solemn engagement to obey it once more, a great number of Hebrew male and female slaves received their freedom, inasmuch as very many had served longer than seven years; however, we need not suppose that all bond men and women were liberated at once. The resolution, Jer 34:9, that every one should liberate his Hebrew man-or maid-servant, and that no one should continue to impose servitude on a Jew, his brother, i.e., compel him any longer to serve as a slave, is conditioned by the law, which is assumed as well known: this also accords with the expression לבלתּי עבד־בּם, which is used in a general way of the treatment of Hebrew men-and maid-servants, Lev 25:39. However, it is also possible that a liberation of all bond men and women took place without regard to the

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duration of their servitude, partly for the purpose of averting, by such obedience to the law, the calamity now threatening the city, and partly also to employ the liberated slaves in the defence of the city; for, according to Jer 34:21., the emancipation took place during the siege of Jerusalem, and after the departure of the Chaldeans the solemn promise was revoked. The expression קתא דרור, "to proclaim liberty," is taken from Lev 25:10, but it does not prove that the manumission took place on a sabbath-or jubilee-year. להם refers ad sensum to those who were bondmen and had a right to be set free. The general expression is explained by שׁלּח חפשׁים, and this again is more closely defined by לבלתּי עבד־בּם (cf. Lev 25:39). אישׁ  בּיהוּדי אחיהוּ, (that no one should labour) "though a Jew, who is his brother," i.e., a fellow-countryman; i.e., that no one should impose servitude on a Jew, as being a compatriot. "To enter into a covenant" is to assume its obligation; cf. 2Ch 15:12; Eze 16:8. The Kethib יכבישׁום receives, in the Qeri, the vowels of the Kal, since the Hiphil of this verb does not occur elsewhere, only the Kal, cf. 2Ch 28:10; but the alteration is unnecessary - the Hiphil may intensify the active meaning.

Verse 12 Edit

Jer 34:12The threat of punishment. - Jer 34:12. "Then came the word of Jahveh to Jeremiah from Jahveh, saying: Jer 34:13. Thus saith Jahveh, the God of Israel, 'I made a covenant with your fathers in the day when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from a house of bondmen, saying, Jer 34:14. At the end of seven years shall ye set free each man his brother, who is a Hebrew that sold himself to thee; and he shall serve thee six years, then shalt thou send him away from thee free: but your fathers hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear. Jer 34:15. But you had turned just now, and had done what is right in mine eyes, because each man proclaimed liberty to his neighbour, ad ye had made a covenant before me in the house on which my name is called. Jer 34:16. But ye turned again and profaned my name, and each one made his man-servant and his handmaid, whom he had sent away free, at their pleasure, to return, and ye brought them into subjection, to be men-and maid-servants to you. Jer 34:17. Therefore, thus saith Jahveh, Ye have not hearkened unto me in proclaiming liberty each man to his brother, and each man'

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to his neighbour: behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, saith Jahveh, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to famine, and I will deliver you up for maltreatment to all the kingdoms of the earth. Jer 34:18. And I shall make the men who have transgressed my covenant, that have not kept the words of the covenant which they concluded before me, like the calf which they cut in two, and between whose pieces they passed. Jer 34:19. The princes of Judah and the princes of Jerusalem, the courtiers, and the priests, and all he people of the land, who passed through between the pieces of the calf, Jer 34:20. Them will I give into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those who seek their life, so that their corpses shall be for food to the birds of heaven and to the beasts of the earth. Jer 34:21. And Zedekiah, king of Judah, and his princes will I give into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those who seek their life, and into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon, that has departed from against you. Jer 34:22. Behold, I will command, saith Jahveh, and will make them return to this city, and they shall fight against it, and shall take it, and shall burn it with fire; and the cities of Judah will I make a desolation, without an inhabitant."

Verses 13-16 Edit

In Jer 34:13-16 the Lord sets before the people and their rulers their new offence; in Jer 34:17-22 He announces to them the punishment for this new deed by which the covenant is broken. In order to place the transgression in its proper light, He mentions, first of all, that, when He led Israel out of Egypt, He concluded with them a covenant to the effect that every one of them should set free his Hebrew servant at the end of seven years; He also mentions that their fathers had transgressed this covenant (Jer 34:13, Jer 34:14). The designation of Egypt as a house of bondmen, as in Exo 13:3, Exo 13:14; Exo 20:2; Deu 6:12, etc., possesses a special emphasis, and points to what is mentioned in Deu 15:15 as the motive for obeying the law referred to in the address. Because Israel was a servant in Egypt, and the Lord has redeemed him out of this house of bondmen, therefore must they not treat as slaves their brethren who had fallen into poverty, but set them free after six years of service. The expression "at the end (after the lapse) of seven years" is to be understood in the same way as the expression "after

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eight days." As this just means "when seven days are completed," so also, according to the law, Exo 21:2; Deu 15:12, the emancipation was to follow in the seventh year, after six full years of service. "Who sold himself to thee" is an expression copied from Deu 15:12. - From this sin of their fathers they had now for a little turned away, and, in a solemn covenant, resolved to free the bondmen, as the law decreed (Jer 34:15); but they have immediately profaned the name of the Lord again by revoking this decree, viz., by breaking the covenant made before God. לנפשׁם, "according to their pleasure," like eלנפשׁהּ, Deu 21:14.

Verses 17-18 Edit

The announcement of punishment. Because ye have not hearkened, by proclaiming, every one, liberty to his bondman (this certainly had been done, but was again undone by annulling the decree), therefore I proclaim liberty for you; i.e., you, who have hitherto been my servants (Lev 25:55), I discharge from this relation, - deliver you up to your fate as regards the sword, etc., that the sword, famine, and pestilence may have power over you. For לזועה see Jer 15:4. - In Jer 34:18 the construction is disputed. Many, including Luther, take העגל as the second object to נתתּי: "I will make the men...the calf," i.e., like the calf. But, though נתן is frequently construed with a double accusative with the meaning of making some thing another thing (cf. e.g., Jer 34:22, Gen 17:5; Exo 7:1), yet in such a case the predicative-object does not readily take the article. Moreover, נתן, in the sense required here, to make like = treat as, is joined with כּ, as in Isa 41:2; Eze 28:2, Eze 28:6; Gen 42:30; 1Ki 10:27, etc. Finally, Rosenmüller objects: continuata versu 19 personarum descriptio et repetitio verbi yṭitanfw̱ Jer 34:20 vix permittunt, propositionem hoc versu absolvi. For these reasons, L. de Dieu, Rosenmüller, Ewald, and Graf have taken העגל as being in apposition to הבּרית, and the enumeration "princes of Judah," etc., Jer 34:19, as a continuation or exposition of האנשׁים, Jer 34:18, and ונתתּי אותם, Jer 34:20, as a resumption of the same words in Jer 34:18. According to this view, Jer 34:18-20 would form a series of appositions: "I will give the men...that have not kept the words of the covenant which they concluded before me...the princes of Judah who passed between the parts of the calf, - these will I give into the hands of their enemies." But,

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apart from the consideration that the enumeration of the covenant-breakers (viz., the princes of Judah, etc.), which is added by way of apposition in Jer 34:19, ought not to come in till after the apposition to הבּרית, which would be a harsh and complicated arrangement of the members of the sentence, this construction seems untenable for the following reasons: (a) "The calf that they cut," etc., which forms the explanatory apposition to "the covenant," is separated from it by the intervening clause, "which they made before me." And (b), even though we might modify this harshness by repeating את־דּברי before העגל, yet the mode of expression, "they have not performed the words of the calf which they cut in two, and between whose parts they passed," would be a very stiff and unnatural one for "they have not performed what they vowed or sware in presence of the parts of the calf which they had halved, and when they passed through between these pieces." With Maurer and Hitzig, therefore, we abide by the older view, which takes העגל as the second object to ונתתּי: "I will make the men...the calf," or, better, "like the calf which they cut in two," etc. The article is used with עגל because this predicate is more exactly determined by relative clauses, and העגל stands for כּעגל, since, as often happens, the כּ of likeness is dropped to give more point to the idea. We make Jer 34:19 begin a new sentence, and take the names of this verse as objects absolute, which, by אותם following ונתתּי, are subordinated to the verb: "As for the princes of Judah...them shall I give...." - From Jer 34:18 we see that, when alliances were entered into, the contracting parties slaughtered an עגל, "calf," i.e., a young bullock, cut it in two halves, and went through between the pieces that were placed opposite one another. See on Gen 15:10 for details regarding this most ancient custom and its meaning: according to the account of Ephraem Syrus, it is of Chaldean origin. Thus are explained the phrases used to signify the making of a covenant. כּרת בּרית, to cut a covenant, ὅρκια τέμνειν, faedus ferire, i.e., ferienda hostia faedus facere. We cannot with certainty infer, from the threatening pronounced in this passage, that this rite originally signified nothing more than that he who broke his promise would be treated like the animal that had been slaughtered. For the threatening is merely a conclusion

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drawn from the sacred act; but this does not exclude a deeper meaning of the rite.
Jer 34:19-22 give the real explanation of the threatening attached to the ritual of the covenant. Princes, officers of the court, priests and people, who have transgressed the covenant, shall die by the hand of the enemy, and perish ignominiously. On Jer 34:20, cf. Jer 7:33; Jer 16:4, etc. On סריסים see on Gen 37:36. King Zedekiah also, with his princes, his retinue, shall fall into the hand of his enemies, ay, into the hands of the Chaldeans, who have now withdrawn from Jerusalem (on עלה  see on Jer 21:2). See also Gen 37:5-8. The Example of the Rechabites
By the command of God, Jeremiah brings the family of the Rechabites (who had fled for refuge to Jerusalem before the approach of the Chaldeans) into one of the chambers of the temple, and sets before them some wine to drink (Jer 35:1-5). They decline to drink, because the head of their family had forbidden them the use of wine, as well as the possession of houses and the cultivation of the soil, and had commanded them to live in tents (Jer 35:6-11). Jeremiah is to put this before the people of Judah. The Rechabites faithfully observe the command of their ancestor, while the people of Judah transgress the commands of their God, which are continually presented to them (Jer 35:12-16). Therefore the threatened calamity shall fall upon Judah; but the house of Rechab, as a reward for their faithfulness to the injunctions of their ancestor, shall continue for ever (Jer 35:17-19).
According to Jer 35:1, this word of the Lord came to Jeremiah in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim, and, according to Jer 35:11, previous to the arrival of Nebuchadnezzar and his host before Jerusalem; therefore perhaps in the summer of the year 606 b.c., for Jerusalem was taken for the first time by Nebuchadnezzar in the ninth month (December) of that year.

Chap. 35 Edit

Verses 1-11 Edit

Jer 35:1-11Jeremiah's dealings with the Rechabites - Jer 35:2. Jeremiah is to go to the house, i.e., the family, of the Rechabites, speak with them, and bring them into tone of the chambers of the temple, and set before them wine to drink. בּית , Jer 35:2, Jer 35:3, Jer 35:18, is exchanged for בּני בית־הרכבים, Jer 35:5, from which it is apparent that "the house of the Rechabites"

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does not mean their dwelling-place, but the family, called in 1Ch 2:55 בּית־רכב. According to this passage, the Rechabites were a branch of the Kenites, i.e., descendants of the Kenite, the father-in-law of Moses (Jdg 1:16), who had gone to Canaan with the Israelites, and welt among them, partly in the wilderness on the southern frontier of the tribe of Judah (1Sa 15:6; 1Sa 27:10; 1Sa 30:29), partly at Kadesh in Naphtali (Jdg 4:11, Jdg 4:17; Jdg 5:24). Their ancestor, or father of the tribe, was Rechab, the father of Jonadab, with whom Jehu made a friendly alliance (2Ki 10:15, 2Ki 10:23). Jonadab had laid on them the obligation to live in the special manner mentioned below, in order to keep them in the simplicity of nomad life observed by their fathers, and to preserve them from the corrupting influences connected with a settled life. לשׁכות, "cells of the temple," were additional buildings in the temple fore-courts, used partly for keeping the stores of the temple (1Ch 28:12), partly as dwellings for those who served in it, and as places of meeting for those who came to visit it; see Eze 40:17.

Verses 3-4 Edit

In executing the command of the Lord, Jeremiah took (went for) Jaazaniah, son of Jeremiah, son of Habaziniah, and all his brethren, and sons, and the whole house of the Rechabites, and brought them into the temple-chamber of the sons of Hanan. Jaazaniah was probably the then chief of the Rechabites. The chamber of the sons of Hanan was situated next the princes' chamber, which stood over that of Maaseiah the door-keeper. Nothing further is known about Hanan the son of Jigdaliah; here he is called "the man of God," an honourable title of the prophets - see e.g., 1Ki 12:22 - for, according to the usual mode of construction, אישׁ האלהים does not belong to Jigdaliah, but to Hanan, cf. Jer 28:1; Zec 1:1. "The chamber of the princes" is the chamber where the princes, the chiefs of the people, used to assemble in the temple. Its position is more exactly described by ממּעל לל, "over the chamber of Maaseiah," but not very clearly for us, since the buildings of the temple fore-courts are nowhere else more exactly described; however, see on Jer 36:10. Maaseiah was שׁמר הסּף, "keeper of the threshold," i.e., overseer of the watchmen of the temple gates, of which, according to Jer 52:24 and 2Ki 25:18, there were three, who are

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there mentioned along with the high priest and his substitute Maaseiah is probably the same whose son Zephaniah was כּהן המּשׁנה , cf. Jer 52:24 with Jer 37:3; Jer 29:25, and Jer 21:1.

Verses 5-7 Edit

There, Jeremiah caused bowls filled with wine to be set before the Rechabites, and commanded them to drink. (גּביעים are large goblets, bowls, out of which drinking-cups [כּסות] were filled.) But they explained that they did not drink wine, because their father, i.e., their ancestor, Jonadab had forbidden them and their posterity to drink wine for ever, as also to build houses, to sow seed, and to plant vineyards, i.e., to settle themselves down in permanent dwellings and to pursue agriculture. ולא יהיה לכם, "And there shall not be to you," sc. what has just been named, i.e., ye must not possess houses, growing-crops, or vineyards (cf. Jer 35:9),[8] but ye are to dwell in tents all your life, that ye may live long, etc. This promise is an imitation of that found in Exo 20:12.

Verses 8-11 Edit

This command of their forefather they observe in all points, and therefore dwell in tents; and only because of Nebuchadnezzar's arrival in the country have they come to Jerusalem, in order to find refuge for a time from the army of the Chaldeans and that of Aram (the Arameans). The special mention of the army of Aram in connection with that of the Chaldeans is perhaps due to the frequent predatory incursions made, at an earlier period, on Israel and Judah by the Syrians. According to 2Ki 24:2, after Jehoiakim had rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, hostile bands of Arameans invaded Judah for the purpose of laying waste the country.

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Verses 12-17 Edit

Jer 35:12-17The example of the Rechabites is one for Judah. - Jeremiah is to proclaim the word of the Lord to the people of Judah, as follows: Jer 35:13. "Thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Go and say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will ye not receive instruction by listening to my words? saith Jahveh. Jer 35:14. The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, who commanded this sons not to drink wine, are performed, and they have drunk no wine to this day, but have obeyed the command of their father. But I have spoken unto you, rising up early and speaking, yet ye have not listened unto me. Jer 35:15. And I sent unto you all my servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, saying, Turn ye, now, every one from his evil way, and do good deeds, and do not go after other gods, to serve them; then shall ye dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers. But ye did not incline your ear, nor hearken unto me. Jer 35:16. Yea, the children of Jonadab the son of Rechab have observed the commandment of their father which he commanded them, while this people have not hearkened unto me. Jer 35:17. Therefore, thus saith Jahveh, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring upon Judah and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil which I have uttered regarding them, because I spake unto them and they did not hear, and I called unto them, but they did not answer. Jer 35:18. And to the house of the Rechabites Jeremiah said: Thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel, Because ye have listened to the command of Jonadab your father, and have kept all his commandments, and have done according to all that he commanded you, Jer 35:19. Therefore, thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel, Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever."
The command, "Go and speak to the men of Judah," etc., shows that it was not in the chamber of the temple, in presence of the Rechabites, but probably in one of the temple fore-courts, that Jeremiah addressed the following word of the Lord to the people assembled there. In order to shame the Jews thoroughly, he shows them the faithfulness with which the Rechabites observe the ordinances of their ancestor Jonadab. The character of the address, as one intended to rouse feelings of shame, is indicated even at the beginning of Jer 35:13 : "Will ye not receive instruction by hearkening to the words of the Lord?" The Hoph. הוּקם is construed as a passive with the accus.; in the

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older writers we frequently find this construction, in which the passive is used impersonally, hence the sing. is here employed: cf. Ges. §143, 1, Ew. §295, b. "To this day" - now for nearly 300 years without interruption; for Jonadab was already held in high esteem when Jehu ascended the throne, 883 b.c. (2Ki 10:15). Judah, on the contrary, does not listen to the commandments which his God unceasingly inculcates on him, but rather wanders after other gods, to serve them. On Jer 35:15 cf. Jer 25:4-5. אל־האדמה stands for על־האדמה , Jer 25:5. - In Jer 35:16, where the introductory כּי, imo, indicates a culmination, the idea is once more briefly expressed. Nägelsbach incorrectly renders כּי "because," and makes Jer 35:16 the protasis to Jer 35:17. "Such a protasis with because (quia), without any connection with what precedes, is contrary to the use of language" (Hitzig). On the threat of punishment in Jer 35:17, see Jer 11:11.

Verses 18-19 Edit

The declaration concerning the Rechabites is introduced by the formula, "And to the house of the Rechabites Jeremiah said;" thereby, too, it is shown that the statement does not form an integral portion of the preceding address, but was uttered by Jeremiah perhaps at the close of his transactions with them (Jer 35:11). But it is not given till now, in order to signify to the people of Judah that even fidelity to paternal commands has its own rewards, to make the threat uttered against Judah all the more impressive. On the promise Jer 35:19, cf. Jer 33:18. Since עמד  denotes the standing of a servant before his master, and in Jer 7:10 is used of the appearance of the people before the Lord in the temple, עמד לפני seems here also to express not merely the permanence of the family, but in addition, their continuance in the service of the Lord, without, of course, involving sacerdotal service; cf. on the other hand, Jer 33:18, where this service is more exactly described. The acknowledgment of the Lord on the part of the Rechabites is a necessary result of their connection with Israel.[9]

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Chap. 36 Edit

Verse 1 Edit

In the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, bidding him commit to writing all the addresses he had previously delivered, that Judah might, if it were possible, still regard the threatenings and return (Jer 36:1-3). In accordance with this command, he got all the words of the Lord written down in a book by his attendant Baruch, with the further instruction that this should be read on the fast-day in the temple to the people who came out of the country into Jerusalem (Jer 36:4-8). When, after this, in the ninth month of the fifth year of Jehoiakim, a fast was appointed, Baruch read the prophecies to the assembled people in the chamber of Gemariah in the temple. Michaiah the son of Gemariah mentioned the matter to the princes who were assembled in the royal palace; these then sent for Baruch with the roll, and made him read it to them. But they were so frightened by what was read to them that they deemed it necessary to inform the king regarding it (Jer 36:9-19). At their advice, the king had the roll brought and some of it read before him; but scarcely had some few columns been read, when he cut the roll into pieces and threw them into the pan of coals burning in the room, at the same time commanding that Baruch and Jeremiah should be brought to him; but God hid them (Jer 36:20-26). After this roll had been burnt, the Lord commanded the prophet to get all his words written on a new roll, and to predict an ignominious fate for King Jehoiakim; whereupon Jeremiah once more dictated his addresses to Baruch (Jer 36:27-32).
Since Jeremiah, according to Jer 36:3, Jer 36:6, Jer 36:7, is to get his addresses written down that Baruch may be able to read them publicly on the fast-day, now at hand, because he himself was prevented from getting to the temple, the intention of the divine command was not to make the prophet put down in writing and gather together all the addresses he had hitherto given, but the writing down is merely to serve as a means of once more presenting to the people the whole contents of his prophecies, in order to induce them, wherever it was possible, to return to the Lord. In the fourth year of Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar, after

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vanquishing the Egyptians at the Euphrates, advanced against Judah, took Jerusalem, and made Jehoiakim tributary. In the same year, too, Jeremiah had delivered the prophecy regarding the giving up of Judah and all nations for seventy years into the power of the king of Babylon (Jer 25); ); this was before he had been bidden write down all his addresses. For, that he did not receive this command till towards the end of the fourth year, may be gathered with certainty from the fact that the public reading of the addresses, after they were written down, was to take place on the fast-day, which, according to Jer 36:9, was not held till the ninth month of the fifth year. The only doubtful point is, whether they were written down and read before or after the first capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. Most modern commentators take the former view; e.g., Hitzig says, briefly and decidedly, "According to Jer 36:29, the Chaldeans had not as yet appeared in the country." But this is not mentioned in Jer 36:29. The threatening in this verse, "The king of Babylon shall come and destroy this land, and exterminate men and beasts from it," does not prove that the king of Babylon had not yet come to Judah, but merely that the country had not yet been destroyed, and men and cattle exterminated from it. When Jerusalem was first taken, Nebuchadnezzar contented himself with subjecting Jehoiakim under his supreme authority and requiring the payment of tribute, as well as carrying away some of the vessels of the temple and some hostages. The devastation of Judah and the extirpation of men and beasts did not commence till the second subjugation of Jerusalem under Jehoiakim, and was completed when the city was utterly destroyed, in Zedekiah's time, on its third subjugation. The settlement of the question that has been raised depends on the determination of the object for which the special fast-day in the fifth year was appointed, whether for averting the threatened invasion by the Chaldeans, or as a memorial of the first capture of Jerusalem. This question we have already so far decided in the Commentary on Daniel, at Jer 1:1, where it is stated that the fast was held in remembrance of that day in the year when Jerusalem was taken for the first time by Nebuchadnezzar; we have also remarked in the same place, that Jehoiakim either appointed or permitted this special

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fast "for the purpose of rousing the popular feeling against the Chaldeans, to whom they were in subjection, - to evoke in the people a religious enthusiasm in favour of resistance; for Jehoiakim keenly felt the subjugation by the Chaldeans, and from the first thought of revolt." However, every form of resistance to the king of Babylon could only issue in the ruin of Judah. Accordingly, Jeremiah made Baruch read his prophecies publicly to the people assembled in the temple on that day, "by way of counterpoise to the king's desire;" the prophet also bade him announce to the king that the king of Babylon would come, i.e., return, to destroy the land, and to root out of it both men and beasts. These circumstances give the first complete explanation of the terror of the princes when they listened to the reading of the book (Jer 36:16), as well as of the wrath of the king, exhibited by his cutting the book in pieces and throwing it into the fire: he saw that the addresses of the prophet were more calculated to damp those religious aspirations of the people on which he based his hopes, than to rouse the nation against continued submission to the Chaldeans. Not till now, too, when the object of the appointment of the fast-day was perceived, did the command given by God to the prophet to write down his prophecies appear in its proper light. Shortly before, and in the most earnest manner, Jeremiah had reminded the people of their opposition to the word of God preached by him for twenty-three years, and had announced to them, as a punishment, the seventy years' subjugation to the Chaldeans and the desolation of the country; yet this announcement of the fearful chastisement had made no deeper or more lasting impression on the people. Hence, so long as the threatened judgment was still in the distance, not much could be expected to result from the reading of his addresses in the temple on the fast-day, so that the command of God to do so should appear quite justified. But the matter took a considerably different from when Nebuchadnezzar had actually taken Jerusalem and Jehoiakim had submitted. The commencement of the judgments which had been threatened by God was the proper moment for laying before the hearts of the people, once more, the intense earnestness of the divine message, and for urging them to deeper penitence. Just at this point

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the reading of the whole contents of the prophecies delivered by Jeremiah appears like a final attempt to preserve the people, on whom judgment has fallen, from complete destruction.

Verses 2-3 Edit

The word of the Lord to Jeremiah was to this effect: "Take thee a book-roll, and write on it (אליה for עליה) all the words that I have spoken unto thee concerning Israel and Judah, and concerning all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah till this day. Jer 36:3. Perhaps the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I meditate doing to them, that they may return every one from his evil way, and that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin." ישׁמעוּ here means, to hear correctly and lay to heart; cf. Jer 26:3. Hitzig views the command as meaning, not that Jeremiah is now for the first time to write down his addresses (which would be an impossibility for the most faithful memory), but that he is merely to write them down together in one book, out of the several scattered leaves and scraps. Graf has already refuted this view, though more fully than was necessary. It is not a copying, word for word, of every separate address that is meant, but merely a writing down of the essential contents of all his oral discourses. This is quite clear, not merely from what is stated in Jer 36:3 as the object of this command, but also from the character of these collected addresses, as they are preserved to us. That the expression "all the words" is not to be understood in the most rigid sense, follows from the very fact that, when Jeremiah anew wrote down his prophecies, Jer 36:32, he further added "many similar words" to what had been contained in the first book-roll, which was burned by Jehoiakim. But Jeremiah might perhaps be able to retain in his memory the substance of all the addresses he had delivered during the twenty-three years, since all of them treated of the same subjects - reproof of prevailing sins, threat of punishment, and promises.

Verses 4-7 Edit

Jeremiah carries out the divine command by making Baruch write down on a book-roll all the words of the Lord, out of his mouth ('מפּי , i.e., at the dictation of Jeremiah); and since he himself is prevented from getting to the house of the Lord, he bids him read the words he had written down in the ears of the people in the temple on the fast-day, at the same time expressing the hope, Jer 36:7 : "Perhaps their supplication

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will fall down before the Lord, and they will return each one from his wicked way; for great is the wrath and the anger which the Lord hath expressed concerning this people." Baruch, who is mentioned so early as Jer 32:12. as the attendant of the prophet, was, according to the passage now before us, his amanuensis, and executed his commissions. אני עצוּר, according to Jer 33:1 and Jer 39:15, might mean, "I am in prison;" but this does not accord with the request of the princes, Jer 36:19, that Jeremiah should hide himself. Moreover, עצוּר does not mean "seized, captus," but "stopped, restrained, hindered;" see on Neh 6:10. The cause of hindrance is not mentioned, as being away from the purpose of the narrative. "To read in the roll in the ears of the people," i.e., to read to the people out of the book. בּיום צום does not mean "on any fast-day whatever," but, "on the fast-day." The article is omitted because there was no need for defining the fast-day more exactly. The special fast-day mentioned in Jer 36:9 is intended. 'תּפּל תּחנּתם וגו, "their supplication will fall down before the Lord," i.e., reach unto God, as if it were laid before His feet. נפל is transferred from the posture of the suppliant - his falling down before God - to his supplication. Hence, in Hiphil, to make the supplication fall down before the Lord is equivalent to laying the request at His feet; Jer 38:26; Jer 42:9; Dan 9:18, Dan 9:20. If the supplication actually comes before God, it is also heard and finds success. This success is pointed out in 'וישׁבוּ וגו, "that they may repent." If man, in a repentant spirit, supplicates God for grace, God grants him power for conversion. But the return of the people from their wicked way is indispensable, because the wrath which God has expressed concerning it is great, i.e., because God has threatened a heavy judgment of wrath.

Verse 8 Edit

Baruch executes his commission.

Verses 9-19 Edit

Jer 36:9-19The reading of the book in the temple. - Jer 36:9. In the fifth year of Jehoiakim, in the ninth month, "they proclaimed a fast before the Lord - all the people in Jerusalem, and all the people who had come out of the cities of the Judah to Jerusalem." קתא צום, to call, declare, appoint a fast; cf. 1Ki 21:9, 1Ki 21:12; 2Ch 20:3. From the tenor of the words, the people who lived in Jerusalem and those who had come thither out of the country might seem to have called the

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fast. But this is impossible; for the people from the cities of Judah evidently came to Jerusalem only in consequence of the fast being appointed. Hence Graf is of opinion that קתא צום seems here used in a general way of the keeping of such a fast. This view is not confirmed by any parallel instances. The expression is inexact, and the inexactness has arisen from the effort to attain greater conciseness of expression. The meaning is this: a fast was proclaimed, and all the people in Jerusalem and out of the cities of Judah came to worship the Lord in the temple. It remains doubtful with whom the appointment originated, - whether with the king, or with the high priest and the priesthood. The ninth month corresponds to our December, and consequently came round with the cold season; cf. Jer 36:22. The fast-day was a special one; for in the law only the day of atonement, in the seventh month, was prescribed as a fast-day. On the object of this measure, see supra, p. 316f.

Verse 10 Edit

On this day Baruch read the addresses of Jeremiah out of the book to the people who had come to the temple, in the "chamber of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, the scribe, in the upper forecourt, at the entrance of the new gate of the house of the Lord." Gemariah the son of Shaphan was one of the king's private scribes, a secretary of state. For, according to Jer 36:12, he belonged to the princes, and was probably a brother of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, who had already shown himself, before this, a protector of the prophet (Jer 26:24). The chamber which he had in the temple was situated in the upper forecourt, at the entrance of the new gate, whose position we cannot exactly determine (see on Jer 26:10), but which led from the outer to the inner court of the priests, which rose higher than the others.

Verses 11-13 Edit

Micaiah, a son of Gemariah, was also listening to the reading; and he it was who brought the news into the palace. He made of the room, i.e., the office, of Elishama, the secretary of state, where the princes, viz., Elishama, Delaiah the son of Shemaiah, Elnathan the son of Achbor (cf. Jer 26:22), Gemariah the son of Shaphan, and Zedekiah the son of Hananiah, had just met for a consultation; and he mentioned to them what he had heard.

Verse 14 Edit

On this information the princes sent Jehudi (perhaps one of the under-officers of the secretary of state) to Baruch, to bring him, with the book

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from which he had read. From the designation, "Jehudi son of Nethaniah, son of Shelemiah, son of Cushi," Hitzig and Graf conclude that the first and last are not proper names, but appellatives, "the Jew" and "the Cushite," and account for the use of them on the ground that, through the application of the law given in Deu 23:7-8 to Cushites as well as Egyptians, the ancestor was a Cushite, and only his great-grandson became a Jew, or Jewish citizen, and was called "Jehudi." But this view is opposed (1) by the fact that the names of the father and the grandfather are true proper names, and these, moreover, contain the name Jah (Jahveh), - hence are genuine proper names of Israelites; moreover, (2) even in olden times Jehudith occurs as a woman's name, Gen 26:34. According to this, Jehudi is a true proper name, and at the most, Cushi is but a surname of the great-grandfather, given him because of his descent from the Cushites. Further, the law, Deu 23:7, applies only to the posterity of the Edomites and Egyptians, that these should not be received into the congregation of the Lord till the third generation; this ordinance was based on grounds which did not permit of its application to other nations. These might be naturalized even in the first generation on undergoing circumcision, with the exception of Canaanites, Ammonites, and Moabites, who were not to be admitted into the Israelitish community even in the tenth generation, Deu 23:3.

Verses 15-16 Edit

When Baruch came, the princes, in token of friendly and respectful treatment, bade him sit down and read to them out of the book he had brought with him. Jer 36:16. But when they heard all the words read, "they were afraid one at another;" i.e., by looks, gestures, and words, they gave mutual expression of their fear, partly because of the contents of what had been read. Although they were generally acquainted with the sense and the spirit of Jeremiah's addresses, yet what had now been read made a powerful impression on them; for Baruch plainly had read, both to the people in the temple and to the princes, not the whole book, but only the main portions, containing the sternest denunciations of sin and the strongest threats of punishment. The statement, "he read in (out of) the book the words of Jeremiah" (Jer 36:10), does not mean that he read the whole book;

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this would only have wearied the people and weakened the impression made. But they were partly also terrified, perhaps, by the boldness of a declaration which so decidedly opposed the desires and hopes of the king; for the thought of the event mentioned in Jer 26:20. would at once suggest to them the danger that might arise to the live of Jeremiah and Baruch from the despotic character of the king. They said therefore to Baruch, "We must tell the king all these things." For it was clear that the matter could not long remain concealed from the king, after the public reading in the temple. Hence they dared not, agreeably to their official relation to the king, hide from him what had taken place.

Verses 17-18 Edit

Meanwhile, in order to inform themselves more exactly regarding what had happened, they ask Baruch, "Tell us, how hast thou written all these words at his mouth?" Thereupon Baruch replied, "He used to call aloud these words to me," i.e., he used to dictate them to me by word of mouth, "and I wrote them in the book with ink." The imperfect expresses the repeated or continued doing of anything; hence יקרא here means to dictate, which requires considerable time. In the following circumstantial clause is found the participle ואני כתב, while I was writing; and so I myself was doing nothing else all the time than writing down what was dictated. Some commentators have found a stumbling-block in מפּיו in the question of the princes (Jer 36:17); the lxx and Ewald omit this word, inasmuch as Baruch does not explain till afterwards that he had written down the words from the mouth of Jeremiah. Others, like Venema, take מפּיו as a question = המפּיו. Both explanations are arbitrary and unnecessary. The princes knew quite well that the substance of the book was from the mouth of Jeremiah, i.e., contained his addresses; but Baruch, too, might have composed the book from the oral discourses of the prophet without being commissioned by him, without his knowledge also, and against his will. Accordingly, to attain certainty as to the share of the prophet in this matter, they ask him, and Baruch answers that Jeremiah had dictated it to him.

Verse 19 Edit

Thereupon the princes advised Baruch to hide himself and Jeremiah; for they know beforehand that Jehoiakim would put to death the witnesses of the truth.

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Verse 20 Edit

Jer 36:20The reading of the book before the king. - Jer 36:20. The princes betook themselves to the king חצרה, into the inner fore-court (leaving the book-roll in the chamber of the secretary of state), and gave him an account of the matter. חצר is the inner court of the palace, in which the royal dwelling-apartments are situated. הפקיד, to entrust a thing or person to any one (Jer 40:7), hence to deposit, preserve, Isa 10:28.

Verses 21-22 Edit

Thereupon the king makes Jehudi fetch the book, and causes it to be read before himself and the assembled princes. עמד מעל, to stand over, since the one who is standing before his master, while the latter is sitting, overtops him; cf. Gen 18:8. The king was sitting, as is stated in Jer 36:22 by way of preparation for what follows, in the winter-house, i.e., in that portion of the palace which was erected for a winter residence, in the ninth month, i.e., during the winter, and the pot of coals was burning before him. The rooms of eastern houses have no stoves, but in the middle of the floor there is a depression, in which is placed a sort of basin with burning coals, for the purpose of heating the apartment: cf. Keil's Bibl. Archäol. ii. §95, S. 7. For the expression ואת־האח, "and as for the fire-pot, it was burning before him," cf. Ewald, §277, d.

Verse 23 Edit

Now, "when Jehudi had read three or four columns, he the king cut it the book-roll with a pen-knife and threw the pieces into the fire, in the pot of coals, till the whole roll was consumed on the fire in the pot of coals." דּלתות, properly "doors," are not leaves, but divisions of a book. The opinion of Hitzig, that leaves are to be understood, and that the Megillah, therefore, was not a roll, properly speaking, but a book with leaves, cannot be substantiated. In the synagogues, the Jews even at the present day, according to the ancient custom, use real rolls, which are rolled up on a stick. On these the Scripture text is written, though not in lines which occupy the whole breadth of the roll; the whole space is divided into parts. "Scribebatur," says Buxtorf in Institutione epistolari Hebr. p. 4, "volumen lineis, non per longitudinem totius chartae aut pergamenti deductis, sed in plures areas divisis, quomodo sunt latera paginarum in libris complicatis. Istae propterea voce metaphoricâ vocanturדּלתותjanuae valvae, quod figuram januae referent." The subject of יקרעה is not Jehudi, as Hitzig thinks, but the

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king, and the word does not signify "he cut it out," but "he cut it in pieces" (the suffix refers to המּגלּה). We are not, with many expositors, to view the conduct of the king in such a way as to think that, whenever Jehudi had read some portions, he cut these off and threw them into the fire, so that the book was, with these interruptions, read through to the end, and at the same time gradually destroyed. Such conduct Graf justly characterizes as trifling and silly, and not in harmony with the anger of a king having a violent disposition. But we cannot see how the imperfect יקרע (in Nägelsbach's opinion) proves that Jehudi read the whole, when the text states that only three or four columns were read. The meaning, peculiar to the imperfect, of the continuation or repetition of an act, is fully made out by supposing that the king cut down the roll bit by bit, and threw the pieces into the fire one after the other. Neither does the expression עד־תּם כּל־המּגלּה imply that the whole book was read; for תּמם does not denote the completion of the reading, but the completion of the burning: hence the words are to be translated, "till the whole roll had completely got upon the fire," i.e., was completely burnt; cf. תּם אל־, Gen 47:18. The inf. absol. והשׁלך is a continuation of the finite verb, as frequently occurs, e.g., in Jer 14:5; Jer 32:44.

Verses 24-25 Edit

In order to characterize the conduct of the king, the writer remarks, "Yet the king and his servants who heard all these words (which Jehudi had read) were not afraid, nor did they rend their garments (in token of deep sorrow); and even when Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah addressed the king, requesting him not to burn the roll, he did not listen to them." So hardened was the king, that he and his servants neither were terrified by the threatenings of the prophet, nor felt deep sorrow, as Josiah did in a similar case (2Ki 22:11, cf. 1Ki 21:27), nor did they listen to the earnest representations of the princes. עבדיו are the court-attendants of the king in contrast with the princes, who, according to Jer 36:16, had been alarmed by what they heard read, and wished, by entreaties, to keep the king from the commission of such a wicked act as the destruction of the book. Ewald, on the contrary, has identified עבדיו with the princes, and thereby marred the whole account, while he reproaches the princes with "acting as the wretched instruments

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of what they knew to be the sentiments prevailing at court."

Verse 26 Edit

Not content with destroying the book, Jehoiakim also wished to get Baruch and Jeremiah out of the way; for he ordered the king's son Jerahmeël and two other men to go for Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet; "but the Lord hid them," i.e., graciously kept them out of the sight of the spies. בּן־המּלך is not the son of Jehoiakim, - if so, we would find simply את־בּנו; but a royal prince is meant, cf. Jer 38:6; 1Ki 22:26; 2Ki 11:1-2; Zep 1:8.The punishment which is to come on Jehoiakim for his wicked act. - Jer 36:27. After the burning of the roll by the king, Jeremiah received from the Lord the command to get all that had been on the former roll written on another, and to announce the following to Jehoiakim the king: Jer 36:29. "Thus saith Jahveh: Thou hast burned this roll, whilst thou sayest, Why hast thou written thereon, The king of Babylon shall surely come and destroy this land, and root out man and beast from it? Jer 36:30. Therefore thus saith Jahveh regarding Jehoiakim the king of Judah: He shall not have one who sits upon the throne of David, and his corpse shall be cast forth to the heat by day and to the frost by night. Jer 36:31. And I shall punish him, his servants, and his seed for their iniquity, and bring on them and on all the inhabitants of Judah and all the men of Judah all the evil which I have spoken to them; but they did not hear." On the meaning of Jer 36:29 see p. 316, supra. The threatening expressed in Jer 36:30. is really only a repetition of what is given in Jer 22:18-19, and has already been explained there. "There shall not be to him one who sits upon the throne of David," i.e., he is not to have a son that shall occupy the throne of David after him. This does not contradict the fact that, after his death, his son Jehoiachin ascended the throne. For this ascension could not be called a sitting on the throne, a reign, inasmuch as he was immediately besieged in Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and compelled to surrender after three months, then go into exile to Babylon. On Jer 36:31 cf. Jer 35:17; Jer 19:15.

Verses 22-32 Edit

Thereupon Jeremiah made his attendant Baruch write all the words of the former roll on a new one, "out of his mouth," i.e., at his dictation; and to these he added many other words like them. כּהמּה, i.e.,

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of like import with those on the previous roll. Hence we perceive that on the first roll there were written down not all the several addresses fully, but only the most important parts of his oral announcements.

Chap. 37 Edit

Verses 1-5 Edit

The account of what befell Jeremiah and what he did during the last siege of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, until the taking of the city, is introduced, Jer 37:1 and Jer 37:2, with the general remark that Zedekiah - whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had made king in the land of Judah in place of Coniah (on which name see on Jer 22:24) - when he became king, did not listen to the words of the Lord through Jeremiah, neither himself, nor his servants (officers), nor the people of the land (the population of Judah). Then follows, Jer 37:3-10, a declaration of the prophet regarding the issue of the siege, which he sent to the king by the messengers who were to beseech him for his intercession with the Lord. Jer 37:3-5. The occasion of this declaration was the following: Zedekiah sent to Jeremiah two of his chief officers, Jehucal the son of Shelemiah (see on Jer 38:1), and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest (see Jer 21:1 and Jer 29:25), with this charge: "Pray now for us to Jahveh our God." This message was sent to Jeremiah while he still went in and out among the people, and had not yet been put in prison (כּליא, Jer 37:4 and Jer 52:31, an unusual form for כּלא, Jer 37:15 and Jer 37:18, for which the Qeri would have us in both instances read כּלוּא); the army of Pharaoh (Hophra, Jer 44:30), too, had marched out of Egypt to oppose the Chaldeans; and the latter, when they heard the report of them (שׁמעם, the news of their approach), had withdrawn from Jerusalem (עלה מעל, see on Jer 21:2), viz., in order to repulse the Egyptians. Both of these circumstances are mentioned for the purpose of giving a clear view of the state of things: (a) Jeremiah's freedom to go in and out,

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not to prepare us for his imprisonment afterwards, but to explain the reason why the king sent two chief officers of the realm to him, whereas, after his imprisonment, he caused him to be brought (cf. Jer 37:17 with Jer 38:14); and (b) the approach of the Egyptians joined with the raising of the siege, because this event seemed to afford some hope that the city would be saved. - This occurrence, consequently, falls within a later period than that mentioned in Jer 21:1-14.

Verses 6-10 Edit

Then came the word of the Lord to this effect: Jer 37:7. "Thus saith Jahveh, the God of Israel: Thus shall ye say to the king of Judah who hath sent you to me to ask at me, Behold, the army of Pharaoh, which marched out to your help, will return to Egypt, their own land. Jer 37:8. And the Chaldeans shall return and fight against this city, and take it, and burn it with fire. Jer 37:9. Thus saith Jahveh: Do not deceive yourselves by thinking, The Chaldeans will quite withdraw from us; for they will not withdraw. Jer 37:10. For, even though he had beaten the whole army of the Chaldeans who are fighting with you, and there remained of them only some who had been pierced through and through, yet they would rise up, every man in his tent, and burn this city with fire." In order to cut off every hope, the prophet announces that the Egyptians will bring no help, but withdraw to their own land before the Chaldeans who went out to meet them, without having accomplished their object; but then the Chaldeans will return, continue the siege, take the city and burn it. To assure them of this, he adds: "Ye must not deceive yourselves with the vain hope that the Chaldeans may possibly be defeated and driven back by the Egyptians. The destruction of Jerusalem is so certain that, even supposing you were actually to defeat and repulse the Chaldeans, and only some few grievously wounded ones remained in the tents, these would rise up and burn the city." In הלוך ילכוּ the inf. abs. is to be observed, as strengthening the idea contained in the verb: "to depart wholly or completely;" הלך is here to "depart, withdraw." אנשׁים in contrast with חיל are separate individuals. מדקּר, pierced through by sword or lance, i.e., grievously, mortally wounded.

Verses 11-12 Edit

Jer 37:11-12The imprisonment of Jeremiah. - During the time when the Chaldeans, on account of the advancing army of pharaoh,

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had withdrawn from Jerusalem and raised the siege, "Jeremiah went out of the city to go to the land of Benjamin, in order to bring thence his portion among the people." והיה, in accordance with later usage, for ויהי, as in Jer 3:9; cf. Ewald, §345, b. לחלק  is explained in various ways. לחלק for להחליק can scarcely have any other meaning than to share, receive a share; and in connection with משּׁם, "to receive a portion thence," not, to receive an inheritance (Syr., Chald., Vulg.), for משּׁם does not suit this meaning. The lxx render τοῦ ἀγοράσαι ἐκεῖθεν, which Theodoret explains by πρίασθαι ἄρτους. All other explanations have still less in their favour. We must connect בּתוך העם with 'ללכת וגו, since it is unsuitable for לחלק משּׁם.

Verse 13 Edit

When he was entering the gate of Benjamin, where Jeriah the son of Shelemiah kept watch, the latter seized him, saying, "Thou desirest to go over to the Chaldeans" (נפל אל־, see on Jer 21:9). The gate of Benjamin (Jer 38:7; Jer 14:10) was the north gate of the city, through which ran the road to Benjamin and Ephraim; hence it was also called the gate of Ephraim, 2Ki 14:13; Neh 8:16. בּעל, "holder of the oversight," he who kept the watch, or commander of the watch at the gate. "The accusation was founded on the well-known views and opinions of Jeremiah (Jer 21:9); but it was mere sophistry, for the simple reason that the Chaldeans were no longer lying before the city" (Hitzig).

Verses 14-15 Edit

Jeremiah replied: "A lie [= not true; cf. 2Ki 9:12]; I am not going over to the Chaldeans. But he gave no heed to him; so Jeriah seized Jeremiah, and brought him to the princes. Jer 37:15. And the princes were angry against Jeremiah, and smote him, and put him in prison, in the house of Jonathan the scribe; for they had made it the prison," - probably because it contained apartments suitable for the purpose. From Jer 37:16 we perceive that they were subterranean prisons and vaults into which the prisoners were thrust; and from v. 28 and Jer 38:26, it is clear that Jeremiah was in a confinement much more severe and dangerous to his life. There he sat many days, i.e., a pretty long time.

Verses 16-21 Edit

Examination of the prophet by the king, and alleviation of his confinement. - Jer 37:16. "When Jeremiah had got into the dungeon and into the vaults, and had sat there

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many days, then Zedekiah the king sent and fetched him, and questioned him in his own house (palace) secretly," etc. Jer 37:16 is by most interpreters joined with the foregoing, but the words כּי בּא do not properly permit of this. For if we take the verse as a further confirmation of ויּקצפוּ השׂרים, "the princes vented their wrath on Jeremiah, beat him," etc., "for Jeremiah came...," then it must be acknowledged that the account would be very long and lumbering. כּי בּא is too widely separated from יקצפוּ. But the passages, 1Sa 2:21, where כּי פּקד is supposed to stand for ויּפקד, and Isa 39:1, where ויּשׁמע is thought to have arisen out of כּי, 2Ki 20:12, are not very strong proofs, since there, as here, no error in writing is marked. The Vulgate has itaque ingressus; many therefore would change כּי into כּן; but this also is quite arbitrary. Accordingly, with Rosenmüller, we connect Jer 37:16 with the following, and take כּי as a temporal particle; in this, the most we miss is ו copulative, or ויהי. In the preceding sentence the prison of the prophet is somewhat minutely described, in order to prepare us for the request that follows in Jer 37:20. Jeremiah was in a בּית־בּור, "house of a pit," cf. Exo 12:29, i.e., a subterranean prison, and in החניּות. This word only occurs here; but in the kindred dialects it means vaults, stalls, shops; hence it possibly signifies here subterranean prison-cells, so that אל־החניּות more exactly determines what בּית־הבּור is. This meaning of the word is, at any rate, more certain than that given by Eb. Scheid in Rosenmüller, who renders חניות by flexa, curvata; then, supplying ligna, he thinks of the stocks to which the prisoners were fastened. - The king questioned him בּסּתר, "in secret," namely, through fear of his ministers and court-officers, who were prejudiced against the prophet, perhaps also in the hope of receiving in a private interview a message from God of more favourable import. To the question of the king, "Is there any word from Jahveh?" Jeremiah replies in the affirmative; but the word of God is this, "Thou shalt be given into the hand of the king of Babylon," just as Jeremiah had previously announced to him; cf. Jer 32:4; Jer 34:3. - Jeremiah took this opportunity of complaining

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about his imprisonment, saying, Jer 37:18, "In what have I sinned against thee, or against thy servants, or against this people, that ye have put me in prison? Jer 37:19. And where are your prophets, who prophesied to you, The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land?" Jeremiah appeals to his perfect innocence (Jer 37:18), and to the confirmation of his prediction by its event. The interview with the king took place when the Chaldeans, after driving the Egyptians out of the country, had recommenced the siege of Jerusalem, and, as is evident from Jer 37:21, were pressing the city very hard. The Kethib איו is to be read איּו, formed from איּה with the suffix וׁ; the idea of the suffix has gradually become obscured, so that it stands here before a noun in the plural. The Qeri requires איּה. The question, Where are your prophets? means, Let these prophets come forward and vindicate their lying prophecies. Not what these men had prophesied, but what Jeremiah had declared had come to pass; his imprisonment, accordingly, was unjust. - Besides thus appealing to his innocence, Jeremiah, Jer 37:20, entreats the king, "Let my supplication come before thee, and do not send me back into the house of Jonathan the scribe, that I may not die there." For 'תּפּל־נא ת see on Jer 36:7. The king granted this request. "He commanded, and they put Jeremiah into the court of the watch [of the royal palace, see on Jer 32:2], and gave him a loaf of bread daily out of the bakers' street, till all the bread in the city was consumed;" cf. Jer 52:6. The king did not give him his liberty, because Jeremiah held to his views, that were so distasteful to the king (see on Jer 32:3). "So Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard."   In this chapter two events are mentioned which took place in the last period of the siege of Jerusalem, shortly before the capture of the city by the Chaldeans. According to Jer 38:4, the number of fighting men had now very much decreased; and according to Jer 38:19, the number of deserters to the Chaldeans had become large. Moreover, according to Jer 38:9, famine had already begun to prevail; this hastened the fall of the city.

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Chap. 38 Edit

Verses 1-4 Edit

Jeremiah is cast into a miry pit, but drawn out again by Ebedmelech the Cushite. Jer 38:1-6. Being confined in the court of the guard attached to the royal palace, Jeremiah had opportunities of conversing with the soldiers stationed there and the people of Judah who came thither (cf. Jer 38:1 with Jer 32:8, Jer 32:12), and of declaring, in opposition to them, his conviction (which he had indeed expressed from the beginning of the siege) that all resistance to the Chaldeans would be fruitless, and only bring destruction (cf. Jer 21:9.). On this account, the princes who were of a hostile disposition towards him were so embittered, that they resolved on his death, and obtain from the king permission to cast him into a deep pit with mire at the bottom. In v. 1 four of these princes are named, two of whom, Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashur the son of Malchiah, are known, from Jer 37:3 and Jer 21:1, as confidants of the king; the other two, Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashur, are not mentioned elsewhere. Gedaliah was probably a son of the Pashur who had once put Jeremiah in the stocks (Jer 20:1-2). The words of the prophet, Jer 38:2, Jer 38:3, are substantially the same as he had already uttered at the beginning of the siege, Jer 21:9 (יחיה as in Jer 21:9). Jer 38:4. The princes said to the king, "Let this man, we beseech thee, be put to death for the construction, see on Jer 35:14; for therefore i.e., because no one puts him out of existence - על־כּן as in Jer 29:28 he weakens the hands of the men of war who remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking words like these to them; for this man does not seek the welfare of this people, but their ill." מרפּא for מרפּא, to cause the hands of any one to be relaxed, i.e., to make him dispirited; cf. Ezr 4:4; Isa 35:3. דּרשׁ with ל htiw , as Job 10:6; Deu 12:30; 1Ch 22:19, etc., elsewhere with the accusatival את; cf. Jer 29:7 et passim. On this point cf. Jer 29:7. The allegation which the princes made against Jeremiah was possibly correct. The constancy with which Jeremiah declared that resistance was useless, since, in accordance with the divine decree, Jerusalem was to be taken and burnt by the Chaldeans, could not but make the soldiers and the people unwilling any longer to sacrifice their lives in defending the city. Nevertheless the complaint was unjust, because Jeremiah was not expressing

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his own personal opinion, but was declaring the word of the Lord, and that, too, not from any want of patriotism or through personal cowardice, but in the conviction, derived from the divine revelation, that it was only by voluntary submission that the fate of the besieged could be mitigated; hence he acted from a deep feeling of love to the people, and in order to avert complete destruction from them. The courage of the people which he sought to weaken was not a heroic courage founded on genuine trust in God, but carnal obstinacy, which could not but lead to ruin.

Verse 5 Edit

Jer 38:5The king said, "Behold, he is in your hand, for the king can do nothing alongside of you." This reply indicates not merely the weakness and powerlessness of the king against his princes, but also his inward aversion to the testimony of the man of God. "That he would like to save him, just as he afterwards does (Jer 38:10)," is not implied in what he says, with which he delivers up the prophet to the spite of his enemies. Though the princes had at once put Jeremiah to death, the king would not even have been able to reproach them. The want of courage vigorously to oppose the demand of the princes did not spring from any kindly feeling towards the prophet, but partly from moral weakness of character, partly from inward repugnance to the word of God proclaimed by Jeremiah. On the construction אין וּיכל instead of the participle from יכול, which does not occur, cf. Ewald, §321, a. אתכם is certainly in form an accusative; but it cannot be such, since דּבר follows as the accusative: it is therefore either to be pointed אתּכם or to be considered as standing for it, just as אותך often occurs for אתּך, "with," i.e., "along with you."

Verse 6 Edit

The princes (שׂרים) now cast Jeremiah into the pit of the king's son (בּן־מלך, see on Jer 36:26) Malchiah, which was in the court of the prison, letting him down with ropes into the pit, in which there was no water, but mud; into this Jeremiah sank. The act is first mentioned in a general way in the words, "they cast him into the pit;" then the mode of proceeding is particularized in the words, "and they let him down," etc. On the expression הבּור מלכּיּהוּ, "the pit of Malchiah," cf. Ewald, §290, d: the article stands here before the nomen regens, because the nomen rectum, from being a proper name, cannot take it; and yet the pit must be pointed out as

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one well known and definite. That it was very deep, and that Jeremiah must have perished in it if he were not soon taken out again, is evident from the very fact that they were obliged to use ropes in letting him down, and still more so from the trouble caused in pulling him out (Jer 38:10-12). That the princes did not at once put the prophet to death with the sword was not owing to any feeling of respect for the king, because the latter had not pronounced sentence of death on him, but because they sought to put the prophet to a final death, and yet at the same time wished to silence the voice of conscience with the excuse that they had not shed his blood.

Verses 7-9 Edit

The deliverance of Jeremiah. Ebedmelech the Cushite, a eunuch, heard of what had happened to Jeremiah. אישׁ סריס .haimer signifies a eunuch: the אישׁ shows that סריס is here to be taken in its proper meaning, not in the metaphorical sense of an officer of the court. Since the king had many wives (Jer 38:22.), the presence of a eunuch at the court, as overseer of the harem, cannot seem strange. The law of Moses, indeed, prohibited castration (Deu 23:2); but the man was a foreigner, and had been taken by the king into his service as one castrated. עבד מלך is a proper name (otherwise it must have been written המּלך); the name is a genuine Hebrew one, and probably may have been assumed when the man entered the service of Zedekiah. - On hearing of what had occurred, the Ethiopian went to the king, who was sitting in the gate of Benjamin, on the north wall of the city, which was probably the point most threatened by the besiegers, and said to him, Jer 38:9, "My lord, O king, these men have acted wickedly in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the pit; and he is dying of hunger on the spot, for there is no more bread in the city." הרעוּ את־א, lit.,: "they have done wickedly what they have done." ויּמת cannot be translated, "and he died on the spot," for Ebedmelech wishes to save him before he dies of hunger. But neither does it stand for וימת, "so that he must die." The imperfect with Vav consecutive expresses the consequence of a preceding act, and usually stands in the narrative as a historic tense; but it may also declare what necessarily follows or will follow from what precedes; cf. Ewald, §342, a. Thus ויּמת stands here in the sense, "and so he is

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dying," i.e., "he must die of hunger." תּחתּיו, "on his spot," i.e., on the place where he is; cf. 2Sa 2:23. The reason, "for there is no longer any bread (הלחם with the article, the necessary bread) in the city," is not to be taken in the exact sense of the words, but merely expresses the greatest deficiency in provisions. As long as Jeremiah was in the court of the prison, he received, like the officers of the court, at the king's order, his ration of bread every day (Jer 37:21). But after he had been cast into the pit, that royal ordinance no longer applied to him, so that he was given over to the tender mercies of others, from whom, in the prevailing scarcity of bread, he had not much to hope for.

Verse 10 Edit

Jer 38:10Then the king commanded the Ethiopian, "Take hence thirty men in thine hand, and bring up Jeremiah out of the pit before he dies." בידך, "in thine hand," i.e., under your direction; cf. Num 31:49. The number thirty has been found too great; and Ewald, Hitzig, and Graf would read שׁלשׁה, because the syntax requires the singular אישׁ after שׁלשׁים, and because at that time, when the fighting men had already decreased in number (Jer 38:4), thirty men could not be sent away from a post in danger without difficulty. These two arguments are quite invalid. The syntax does not demand אישׁ; for with the tens (20-90) the noun frequently follows in the plural as well as in the singular, if the number precede; cf. 2Sa 3:20; 2Ki 2:16, etc.; see also Gesenius' Grammar, §120, 2. The other argument is based on arbitrary hypotheses; for the passage neither speaks of fighting men, nor states that they would be taken from a post in danger. Ebedmelech was to take thirty men, not because they would all be required for drawing out the prophet, but for making surer work in effecting the deliverance of the prophet, against all possible attempts on the part of the princes or of the populace to prevent them.

Verses 11-13 Edit

Jer 38:11-13Ebedmelech took the men at his hand, went into the king's house under the treasury, and took thence rags of torn and of worn-out garments, and let them down on ropes to Jeremiah into the pit, and said to him, "Put, I pray thee, the rages of the torn and cast-off clothes under thine arm-pits under the ropes." Jeremiah did so, and then they drew him out of the pit by the ropes. תּחת is a room under the treasury. בּלוי, in Jer 38:12 בּלואים, from בּלה,

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to be worn away (of clothes), are rags. סחבות (from סחב, to drag, drag about, tear to pieces) are torn pieces of clothing. מלחים, worn-out garments, from מלח, in Niphal, Isa 51:6, to vanish, dissolve away. The article at הסּחבות is expunged from the Qeri for sake of uniformity, because it is not found with מלחים; but it may as well be allowed to stand as be removed. אצּילות ידים, properly the roots of the hands, are not the knuckles of the hand, but the shoulders of the arms. מתּחת לחבלים, under the ropes; i.e., the rags were to serve as pads to the ropes which were to be placed under the arm-pits, to prevent the ropes from cutting the flesh. When Jeremiah had been drawn out in this way from the deep pit of mire, he remained in the court of the prison.

Verses 14-16 Edit

Jer 38:14-16Conversation between the king and the prophet. - Jer 38:14. King Zedekiah was desirous of once more hearing a message of God from the prophet, and for this object had him brought into the third entrance in the house of the Lord. Nothing further is known about the situation and the nature of this entrance; possibly it led from the palace to the temple, and seems to have been an enclosed space, for the king could carry on a private conversation there with the prophet. The king said to him, "I ask you about a matter, do not conceal anything from me." He meant a message from God regarding the final issue of the siege, cf. Jer 37:7. Jeremiah, knowing the aversion of the king to the truth, replies, Jer 38:15 : "If I tell thee [sc. the word of the Lord], wilt thou not assuredly kill me? And if I were to give thee advice, thou wouldst not listen to me." Jer 38:16. Then the king sware to him secretly, "As Jahveh liveth, who hath made us this soul, I shall certainly not kill thee, nor deliver thee into the hand of these men who seek thy life." את אשׁר, as in Jer 27:8, properly means, "with regard to Him who has created us." The Qeri expunges את. "These men" are the princes mentioned in Jer 38:1.

Verses 17-18 Edit

Jer 38:17-18After this solemn asseveration of the king, Jeremiah said to him, "Thus saith Jahveh, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: If thou wilt assuredly go out to the princes of the king of Babylon  [i.e., wilt surrender thyself to them, cf. 2Ki 18:31; 2Ki 24:12], then thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire, and thou and thy house shall live. But if thou dost

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not go out to the princes of the king of Babylon, then this city will be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and thou shalt not escape out of their hand." The word of God is the same that Jeremiah had already repeatedly announced to the king, cf. Jer 34:2-5; Jer 32:4; Jer 21:4-10. The princes (chiefs, generals) of the king of Babylon are named, because they commanded the besieging army (Jer 39:3, Jer 39:13); Nebuchadnezzar himself had his headquarters at Riblah, Jer 39:5.

Verses 19-23 Edit

Against the advice that he should save his life by surrendering to the Chaldeans, Zedekiah suggests the consideration, "I am afraid of the Jews, who have deserted [נפל אל as in Jer 37:13] to the Chaldeans, lest they give me into their hands and maltreat me." התעלּל בּ, illudere alicui, to abuse any one by mockery or ill-treatment; cf. Num 22:29; 1Ch 10:4, etc. Jeremiah replies, Jer 38:20., "They will not give thee up. Yet, pray, listen to the voice of Jahveh, in that which I say to thee, that it may be well with thee, and that thy soul may live. Jer 38:21. But if thou dost refuse to go out i.e., to surrender thyself to the Chaldeans, this is the word which the Lord hath shown me has revealed to me: Jer 38:22. Behold, all the women that are left in the house of the king of Judah shall be brought out to the princes of the king of Babylon, and those [women] shall say, Thy friends have misled thee and have overcome thee; thy feet are sunk in the mud, they have turned away back. Jer 38:23. And all thy wives and thy children shall they bring out to the Chaldeans, and thou shalt not escape out of their hand; for thou shalt be seized by the hand of the king of Babylon, and thou shalt burn this city with fire." - After Jeremiah had once more assured the king that he would save his life by voluntary surrender, he announces to him that, on the other alternative, instead of his becoming the sport of the deserters, the women of his harem would be insulted. The women who remain in the king's house, as distinguished from "thy wives" (Jer 38:23), are the women of the royal harem, the wives of former kings, who remain in the harem as the concubines of the reigning king. These are to be brought out to the generals of the Chaldean king, and to sing a satire on him, to this effect: "Thy friends have misled thee, and overpowered thee," etc. The first sentence of this

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song is from Oba 1:7, where השּׁיאוּך ere stands instead of הסּיתוּך. The friends (אנשׁי שׁלמך, cf. Jer 20:10) are his great men and his false prophets. Through their counsels, these have led him astray, and brought him into a bog, in which his feet stick fast, and then they have gone back; i.e., instead of helping him out, they have deserted him, leaving him sticking in the bog. The expression is figurative, and the meaning of the figure is plain (רגלך is plural). בּץ, ἁπ λεγ.., is equivalent to בּצּה, a bog, Job 8:11. Moreover, the wives and children of Zedekiah are to fall into the hand of the Chaldeans. מוצאים, the participle, is used instead of the finite tense to express the notion of indefinite personality: "they bring them out." תּתּפשׂ בּיד ".tuo meht gnirb , properly, "to be seized in the hand," is a pregnant construction for, "to fall into the hand and be held fast by it." "Thou shalt burn this city," i.e., bring the blame of burning it upon thyself. Ewald, Hitzig, and Graf, following the lxx, Syr., and Chald., would change תּשׂרף into תּשּׂרף, but needlessly.

Verses 24-26 Edit

From the king's weakness of character, and his dependence on his evil counsellors, neither could this interview have any result. Partly from want of firmness, but chiefly from fear of the reproaches of his princes, he did not venture to surrender himself and the city to the Chaldeans. Hence he did not wish that his interview with the prophet should be known, partly for the purpose of sparing himself reproaches from the princes, partly also, perhaps, not to expose the prophet to further persecutions on the part of the great men. Accordingly, he dismissed Jeremiah with this instruction: "Let no man know of these words, lest thou die." But if the princes should learn that the king had been speaking with him, and asked him, "Tell us, now, what thou hast said to the king, do not hide it from us, and we will not kill thee; and what did the king say to thee?" then he was to say to them, "I presented my supplication before the king, that he would not send me back to the house of Jonathan, to die there." As to the house of Jonathan, see on Jer 37:15. On מפּיל תּחנּתי cf. Jer 36:7; Jer 37:20.

Verses 27-28 Edit

What the king had supposed actually occurred, and Jeremiah gave the princes, who asked about the conversation, the reply that the king had prepared for him. יחרשׁוּ ממּנּוּ .mih rof deraperp, they went away in silence from him, and left him in peace; cf. 1Sa 7:8. כּי לא נשׁמע , for

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the matter, the real subject of the conversation did not become known. So Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison till the day of the capture of Jerusalem. - The last sentence of Jer 38:28 belongs to the following chapter, and forms the introductory sentence of the passage whose conclusion follows in Jer 39:3.

Chap. 39 Edit

Verses 1-3 Edit

In Jer 39:1-14 the events which took place at the taking of Jerusalem are summarily related, for the purpose of showing how the announcements of Jeremiah the prophet have been fulfilled.[10]

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Jer 39:1-3"And it came to pass, when Jerusalem had been taken (in the ninth year of Zedekiah the king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadrezzar and all his army had come against Jerusalem and besieged it; in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, on the ninth of the month, was the city broken into), then came all the princes of the king of Babylon and sat down at the middle gate, - Nergal-sharezer, Samgar-nebo, Sarsechim, chief chamberlain, Nergal-sharezer, chief magician, and all the rest of the princes of the king of Babylon." These three verses, to which the last clause of Jer 38:28 belongs, form one period, broken up by a pretty long piece inserted in it, on the beginning and duration of the siege of Jerusalem; so that, after the introductory clause והיה כּאשׁר( = ויהי as in Jer 37:11), Jer 38:28, the conclusion does not come till the word ויּבאוּ, Jer 39:3. In the parenthesis, the length of the siege, as stated, substantially agrees with Jer 52:4-7 and 2Ki 25:1-4, only that in these passages

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the time when the siege began is further determined by the mention of the day of the month, לחדשׁ be בּעשׂור, which words are omitted here. The siege, then, lasted eighteen months, all but one day. After the besiegers had penetrated into the city through the breaches made in the wall, the princes, i.e., the chief generals, took up their position at "the gate of the midst." ישׁבוּ, "they sat down," i.e., took up a position, fixed their quarters. "The gate of the midst," which is mentioned only in this passage, is supposed, and perhaps rightly, to have been a gate in the wall which divided the city of Zion from the lower city; from this point, the two portions of the city, the upper and the lower city, could most easily be commanded.
With regard to the names of the Babylonian princes, it is remarkable (1) that the name Nergal-sharezer occurs twice, the first time without any designation, the second time with the official title of chief magician; (2) that the name Samgar-nebo has the name of God (Nebo or Nebu) in the second half, whereas in all other compounds of this kind that are known to us, Nebu forms the first portion of the name, as in Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan, Nebushasban (Jer 39:13), Naboned, Nabonassar, Nabopolassar, etc.; (3) from this name, too, is omitted the title of office, while we find one with the following name. Moreover (4) in Jer 39:13, where the Babylonian grandees are again spoken of, instead of the four names, only three are given, but every one of them with a title of office; and only the third of these, Nergal-sharezer, the chief magician, is identical with the one who is named last in Jer 39:3; while Nebushasban is mentioned instead of the Sarsechim of Jer 39:3 as רב־סריס, chief of the eunuchs (high chamberlain); and in place of Nergal-sharezer, Samgar-nebo, we find Nebuzaradan as the commander of the body-guards (רב טבּחים). On these four grounds, Hitzig infers that Jer 39:3, in the passage before us, has been corrupted, and that it contained originally only the names of three persons, with their official titles. Moreover, he supposes that סמגּר is formed from the Persian jâm and the derivation-syllable kr, Pers. war, and means "he who has or holds the cup," the cup-bearer; thus corresponding to רב שׁקה ot gnidnop, Rab-shakeh, "chief cup-bearer," 2Ki 18:17; Isa 36:2. He also considers שׂרסכים a Hebraizing form of רב סריס; סכה

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or שׂכה, "to cut," by transposition from חצה, Arab. chtṣy, from which comes chatṣiyun, "a eunuch," = סכי, plur. סכים; hence שׂרסכים = רב סריס, of which the former has been a marginal gloss, afterwards received into the text. This complicated combination, however, by which Hitzig certainly makes out two official titles, though he retains no more than the divine name Nebu as that of Rabsaris, is founded upon two very hazardous conjectures. Nor do these conjectures gain much support from the renewal of the attempt, made about fifty years since by the late P. von Bohlen, to explain from the Neo-Persian the names of persons and titles occurring in the Assyrian and Old-Babylonian languages, an attempt which has long since been looked upon as scientifically unwarranted. Strange as it may seem that the two persons first named are not further specified by the addition of an official title, yet the supposition that the persons named in Isa 36:3 are identical with those mentioned in Isa 36:13 is erroneous, since it stands in contradiction with Jer 52:12, which even Hitzig recognises as historically reliable. According to Jer 52:12, Nebuzaradan, who is the first mentioned in Jer 39:13, was not present at the taking of Jerusalem, and did not reach the city till four weeks afterwards; he was ordered by Nebuchadnezzar to superintend arrangements for the destruction of Jerusalem, and also to make arrangements for the transportation of the captives to Babylon, and for the administration of the country now being laid waste. But in Jer 39:3 are named the generals who, when the city had bee taken by storm, took up their position within it. - Nor do the other difficulties, mentioned above, compel us to make such harsh conjectures. If Nergal-sharezer be the name of a person, compounded of two words, the divine name, Nergal (2Ki 17:30), and Sharezer, probably dominator tuebitur (see Delitzsch on Isa 37:38), then Samgar-Nebu-Sarsechim may possibly be a proper name compounded of three words. So long as we are unable with certainty to explain the words סמגּר and שׂרסכים out of the Assyrian, we can form no decisive judgment regarding them. But not even does the hypothesis of Hitzig account for the occurrence twice over of the name Nergal-sharezer. The Nergal-sharezer mentioned in the first passage was, no doubt,

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the commander-in-chief of the besieging army; but it could hardly be maintained, with anything like convincing power, that this officer could not bear the same name as that of the chief magician. And if it be conceded that there are really errors in the strange words סמגּר־נבוּ and שׂרסכים, we are as yet without the necessary means of correcting them, and obtaining the proper text.

Verses 4-7 Edit

In Jer 39:4-7 are narrated the flight of Zedekiah, his capture, and his condemnation, like what we find in Jer 52:7-11 and 2Ki 25:4-7. "When Zedekiah the king of Judah and all the men of war saw them (the Chaldean generals who had taken up their position at the mid-gate), they fled by night out of the city, by the way of the king's garden, by a gate between the walls, and he went out by the way to the Arabah. Jer 39:5. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the steppes of Jericho, and captured him, and brought him to Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, to Riblah, in the land of Hamath; and he pronounced judgment on him." Hitzig and Graf consider that the connection of these events, made by  כּאשׁר ראם, is awkward, and say that the king would not have waited till the Chaldean generals took up their position at the mid-gate, nor could he see these in the night-time; that, moreover, he would hardly have waited till the city was taken before he fled. These objections are utterly worthless. If the city of Zion, in which the royal palace stood, was separated from the lower city by a wall, then the king might still be quite at ease, with his men of war, in the upper city or city of Zion, so long as the enemy, who were pushing into the lower city from the north, remained at the separating wall, near the middle gate in it; and only when he saw that the city of Zion, too, could no longer be held, did he need to betake himself to flight with the men of war around him. In actual fact, then, he might have been able to see the Chaldean generals with his own eyes, although we need not press ראם so much as to extract this meaning from it. Even at this juncture, flight was still possible through the south gate, at the king's garden, between the two walls. Thenius, on 2Ki 25:4, takes חמתים to mean a double wall, which at the southern end of Ophel closed up the ravine between Ophel and Zion. But a double wall must also

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have had two gates, and Thenius, indeed, has exhibited them in his plan of Jerusalem; but the text speaks of but one gate (שׁער). "The two walls" are rather the walls which ran along the eastern border of Zion and the western border of Ophel. The gate between these was situated in the wall which ran across the Tyropoean valley, and united the wall of Zion and that of Ophel; it was called the horse-gate (Neh 3:28), and occupied the position of the modern "dung-gate" (Bab-el Moghâribeh); see on Neh 3:27-28. It was not the "gate of the fountain," as Thenius (Bücher der Kön. S. 456), Nägelsbach, and others imagine, founding on the supposed existence of the double wall at the south end of Ophel. Outside this gate, where the valley of the Tyropoeon joined with the valley of the Kidron, lay the king's garden, in the vicinity of the pool of Siloam; see on Neh 3:15. The words 'ויּצא וגו introduce further details as to the king's flight. In spite of the preceding plurals ויּברחוּ , the sing. יצא is quite suitable here, since the narrator wishes to give further details with regard to the flight of the king alone, without bringing into consideration the warriors who fled along with him. Nor does the following אחריהם militate against this view; for the Chaldean warriors pursued the king and his followers, not to capture these followers, but the king. Escaped from the city, the king took the direction of the ערבה, the plain of the Jordan, in order to escape over Jordan to Gilead. But the pursuing enemy overtook him in the steppes of Jericho (see Comm. on Joshua on Jos 4:13), and thus before he had crossed the Jordan; they led him, bound, to Riblah, before the king of Babylon. "Riblah in the land of Hamath" is still called Ribleh, a wretched village about 20 miles S.S.W. from Hums (Emesa) on the river el Ahsy (Orontes), in a large fertile plain in the northern portion of the Bekâa, on the great caravan-track which passes from Palestine through Damascus, Emesa, and Hamath to Thapsacus and Carchemish on the Euphrates; see Robinson's Bibl. Res. iii. 545, and on Comm. on Kings at 2Ki 23:33. - On דּבּר משׁפּטים, to speak judgment, pronounce sentence of punishment, see on Jer 1:16. Nebuchadnezzar caused the sons of Zedekiah and all the princes of Judah (חרים, nobles, lords, as in 27:30) to be slain before the eyes of the Jewish king; then he put out

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his eyes and bound him with brazen fetters, to carry him away to Babylon (לביא for להביא), where, according to Jer 52:11, he remained in confinement till his death.

Verses 8-10 Edit

Jer 39:8-10 contain a brief notice regarding the fate of the city of Jerusalem and its inhabitants, joined on to the passage preceding, in order to prepare the way for a short account of the treatment which Jeremiah experienced at the same time. From the more detailed notice regarding the fate of the city, given in Jer 52:12., 2Ki 25:8., we see that the destruction of the city and the carrying away of the people took place one month after their fall, and that the king of Babylon had appointed Nebuzaradan, the commander of his body-guards, to go to Jerusalem for the purpose of carrying out these matters. In these verses of ours, also, Nebuzaradan is mentioned as the one who carried out the judgment that had been pronounced (Jer 39:10.); but the fact of his being sent from Riblah and the date of the execution of his commission are here omitted, so that it appears as if it had all occurred immediately after the capture of the city, and as if Nebuzaradan had been always on the spot. For the writer of this chapter did not need to give a historically exact account of the separate events; it was merely necessary briefly to mention the chief points, in order to place in proper light the treatment experienced by the prophet. The Chaldeans burned the king's house (the palace) and בּית־העם. This latter expression, taken in connection with "the king's house," signifies the rest of the city apart from the king's palace; hence בּית is used in a collective sense. the temple is not mentioned, as being of no consequence for the immediate purpose of this short notice.

Verses 9-10 Edit

Jer 39:9-10"And the rest of the people that had remained in the city, and the deserters who had deserted to him, and the rest of the people that remained, Nebuzaradan, the chief of the body-guards, led captive to Babylon. Jer 39:10. But of the poorest of the people, who had nothing, Nebuzaradan left some in the country, and he gave them vineyards and arable fields at the same time." עליו after נפלוּ refers, ad sensum, to the king of Babylon; his name, certainly, is not given in the immediate context, but it is readily suggested by it. In Jer 52:15 we find אל־מלך בּבל instead of עליו; yet we might also refer this last-named word to the following subject, Nebuzaradan, as the

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representative of the king. רב־טבּחים, properly, chief of the slayers, i.e., of the executioners, is the chief of the king's body-guard, who occupied the first place among the royal attendants; see on Gen 37:36. By the addition of the words בּיום ההוּא, on that day, i.e., then, the more general account regarding Jerusalem and its inhabitants is concluded, for the purpose of attaching to it the notice regarding the fate of the prophet Jeremiah, Jer 39:11-14.

Verses 11-14 Edit

Nebuchadnezzar gave orders regarding Jeremiah, through Nebuzaradan, the chief of the body-guards: "Take him, and set thine eyes upon him, and do him no harm; but, just as he telleth thee, so do with him." In obedience to this command, "Nebuzaradan, the chief of the body-guards, sent-and Nebushasban the head chamberlain, and Nergal-sharezer the chief magician, and all (the other) chief men of the king of Babylon-they sent and took Jeremiah out of the court of the prison, and delivered him over to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, to take him out to the house. Thus he dwelt among the people." - On the names of the Chaldean grandees, see on Jer 39:3. Instead of the chief chamberlain (רב־סריס) Sarsechim, there is here named, as occupying this office, Nebushasban, who, it seems, along with Nebuzaradan, was not sent from Riblah till after the taking of Jerusalem, when Sarsechim was relieved.
We cannot come to any certain conclusion regarding the relation in which the two persons or names stand to one another, since Nebushasban is only mentioned in Jer 39:13, just as Sarsechim is mentioned only in Jer 39:3. Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the man who had already on a former occasion given protection to Jeremiah (Jer 26:24), was, according to Jer 40:5, placed by the king of Babylon over the cities of Judah, i.e., was nominated the Chaldean governor over Judah and the Jews who were left in the land. To him, as such, Jeremiah is here (Jer 39:14) delivered, that he may take him into the house. בּית is neither the temple (Hitzig) nor the palace, the king's house (Graf), but the house in which Gedaliah resided as the governor; and we find here הבּית, not בּביתו, since the house was neither the property nor the permanent dwelling-place of Gedaliah. - According to this account, Jeremiah seems to have remained in the court of the prison till Nebuchadnezzar

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came, to have been liberated by Nebuzaradan only at the command of the king, and to have been sent to Gedaliah the governor. But this is contradicted by the account in Jer 40:1., according to which, Nebuzaradan liberated the prophet in Ramah, where he had been kept, confined by manacles, among the captives of Judah that were to be carried to Babylon: Nebuzaradan sent for him, and gave him his liberty. This contradiction has arisen simply from the intense brevity with which, in this verse, the fate of Jeremiah at the capture and destruction of Jerusalem is recorded; it is easy to settle the difference in this way: - When the city was taken, those inhabitants, especially males, who had not carried arms, were seized by the Chaldeans and carried out of the city to Ramah, where they were held prisoners till the decision of the king regarding their fate should be made known. Jeremiah shared this lot with his fellow-countrymen. When, after this, Nebuzaradan came to Jerusalem to execute the king's commands regarding the city and its inhabitants, at the special order of his monarch, he sent for Jeremiah the prophet, taking him out from among the crowd of prisoners who had been already carried away to Ramah, loosed him from his fetters, and gave him permission to choose his place of residence. This liberation of Jeremiah from his confinement might, in a summary account, be called a sending for him out of the court of the prison, even though the prophet, at the exact moment of his liberation, was no longer in the court of the prison of the palace at Jerusalem, but had been already carried away to Ramah as a captive.

Verses 15-18 Edit

Jer 39:15-18Jeremiah's message of comfort to Ebedmelech. - Jer 39:15. "Now to Jeremiah there had come the word of the Lord, while he remained shut up in the court of the prison, as follows: Jer 39:16. Go and speak to Ebedmelech the Cushite, saying, Thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring my words against this city for evil and not for good, and they shall take place before thee on that day. Jer 39:17. But I will deliver thee on that day, saith Jahveh; neither shalt thou be given into the hand of the men of whom thou art afraid. Jer 39:18. For I will surely save thee, neither shalt thou fall by the sword, and thine own life shall be thy spoil, because thou hast trusted me, saith Jahveh." - This word of God for Ebedmelech

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came to the prophet, no doubt, very soon after his deliverance from the miry pit by this pious Ethiopian; but it is not given till now, and this by way of supplement, lest its introduction previously should break the chain of events which occurred at the time of that deliverance, Jer 38:14-39:13. Hence היה, Jer 39:15, is to be translated as a pluperfect. "Go and say," etc., is not inconsistent with the fact that Jeremiah, from being in confinement, could not leave the court of the prison. For Ebedmelech could come into the prison, and then Jeremiah could go to him and declare the word of God. "Behold, I will bring my words against this city," i.e., I shall cause the evil with which I have threatened Jerusalem and its inhabitants to come, or, to be accomplished (מבי with א dropped, as in Jer 19:15, and אל־ for על). והיוּ לפּניך, "and these words are to take place before thy face," i.e., thou shalt with thine own eyes behold their fulfilment, בּיום ההוּא, i.e., at the time of their occurrence. But thou shalt be saved, not fall into the hands of the enemy and be killed, but carry away thy body out of it all as booty; cf. Jer 21:9; Jer 38:2. "Because thou hast trusted me;" i.e., through the aid afforded to my prophet thou hast continued thy faith in me.

Chap. 40 Edit

Verse 1 Edit

Jer 40:1The liberation of Jeremiah by Nebuzaradan, the chief of the body-guards. - The superscription, "The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, after that Nebuzaradan, the captain of the body-guard, had let him go from Ramah," does not seem to be appropriate; for in what follows there is no word of God declared by Jeremiah, but first, Jer 1:2-6, we are told that Jeremiah was liberated and given in charge to Gedaliah; then is told, Jer 40:7-41:18, the story of the murder of Gedaliah the governor by Ishmael, together with its consequences; and not till Jer 42:7. is there communicated a word of God, which Jeremiah uttered regarding the Jews who wished to flee to

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Egypt, and had besought him for some revelation from God (Jer 42:1-6). The heading of our verse cannot refer to this prophecy, not merely for the reason that it is too far removed, but still more because it has a historical notice introducing it, Jer 42:1-6. Our superscription rather refers to Jer 1:1-3; and דּבר here, as well as there, means, not a single prophecy, but a number of prophecies. Just as דבר in Jer 1:2 forms the heading for all the prophecies uttered by Jeremiah from the thirteenth year of Josiah till the destruction of Jerusalem and the carrying away of the people in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, so the words 'הדּבר אשׁר וגו of this verse form the superscription for the prophecies which Jeremiah uttered after the destruction of Jerusalem, i.e., to the section formed by Jer 40-45, although Jer 44; Jer 45:1-5 have headings of their own; these, however, are subordinate to the heading of this chapter, in the same way as the titles in Jer 7:1; Jer 11:11; Jer 14:1, etc. fall under the general title given in Jer 1:2-3. - Regarding Nebuzaradan and the discharge of Jeremiah at Ramah (i.e., er Râm, see on Jer 31:15), cf. the explanations given on Jer 39:13 (p. 335 of this volume). In what follows, from בּקחתּו onwards, further details are given regarding Jeremiah's liberation. "When he (Nebuzaradan) sent for him, he (Jeremiah), bound with fetters, was among all the captives of Jerusalem and Judah who were being carried away to Babylon." Those who were to be carried away had been gathered together to Ramah, which lies about five miles north from Jerusalem; thence they were to set out for Babylon. אזקּים (= זקּים, Job 36:8; Isa 45:14), "fetters," - here, according to Jer 40:4, "manacles," by which, perhaps, two or more prisoners were fastened to one another.

Verses 2-3 Edit

When Jeremiah had been brought, the commander of the guards said to him, "The Lord thy God hath declared this evil against this place, and the Lord hath brought it on (brought it to pass), and hath done as He spake; for ye have sinned against the Lord, and have not hearkened to His voice: thus hath this thing happened to you." The mode of expression is that of Jeremiah; but Nebuzaradan may have expressed the thought, that now there had been fulfilled what Jeremiah had predicted in the name of God, because the people, by their rebellion, had broken the oath they had sworn before their God

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(cf. Eze 17:13.), and had thereby sinned against Him. The article before דּבר, required by the Qeri, is unnecessary; cf. Ewald, §293, a; Gesenius, §112, 2, a.

Verses 4-6 Edit

Jer 40:4-6Nebuzaradan then declared him free: "And now, behold, I free thee this day from the shackles on thine hands. If it please thee to come with me to Babylon, then come, and I will set mine eye upon thee (i.e., take thee under my protection, cf. Jer 39:12). But if it please thee not to come with me to Babylon, then let it be so. See, the whole country is before thee (cf. Gen 13:9; Gen 20:5, etc.); whithersoever it pleases thee, and seems right to thee to go, go." Jer 40:5. And because Jeremiah had not yet returned, he said, "Go back to Gedaliah,...whom the king of Babylon hath set over the cities of Judah, and remain with him among the people; or go wherever it seemeth right to thee to go." And the commander of the guard gave him what provisions he required and a present, and sent him away; thereafter Jeremiah went to Gedaliah to Mizpah, and remained there among the people who had been left behind in the land (Jer 40:6). The words ועדנּוּ  were certainly misunderstood by the old translators, who made various conjectures as to their meaning; even yet, Dahler, Movers, Graf, and Nägelsbach are of opinion that "it is impossible to understand" this sentence, and that the text is plainly corrupt. Luther renders: "for no one will any longer return thither." Hitzig considers this translation substantially correct, and only requiring to be a little more exactly rendered: "but there, no one returns home again." Apart, however, from the consideration that on this view עדנּוּ, which stands at the head of the sentence, does not get full justice paid to it, the thought does not accord with what precedes, and the reference of the suffix to the indefinite "person" or "one" is extremely forced. According to what goes before, in which Nebuzaradan gives the prophet full liberty of choosing whether he would go with him to Babylon or remain in the country, in whatever part he likes, and from the following advice which he gives him, "Go, or return, to Gedaliah," the words עדנּוּ לא ישׁוּב, on account of the third person (ישׁוּב), cannot certainly be an address of the chief captain to Jeremiah, and as little can they contain a remark about going to Babylon. The words are evidently, both as to

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their form and their contents, a circumstantial clause, containing a statement regarding the relation of Jeremiah to the proposal of the chief captain (and this is the view taken long ago by Kimchi), i.e., a parenthetical remark of the narrator, according to which Nebuzaradan demands that he shall remain with Gedaliah, in the sense, "and yet he was not going back," or, still better, on account of the imperfect ישׁוּב, "because he was still unwilling to go back," namely, to this or that place indefinitely; then Nebuzaradan further said, "Return, then, to Gedaliah." If we supply ויּאמר before 'ושׁוּבה וגו, with which Nebuzaradan brings the matter to a close, the meaning is quite clear. It is evident from Jer 40:4 that Nebuzaradan stopped a little in order to let Jeremiah decide; but since the prophet did not return, i.e., neither decided in the one way nor the other, he adds 'ושׁוּבה וגו, and thereby puts an end to the indecision. ארחה means a portion of food, or victuals; cf. Jer 52:34 and Pro 15:17. Mizpah, where Gedaliah had taken up his position, is the Mizpah of the tribe of Benjamin, where Samuel judged the people and chose Saul to be king (1Sa 7:15., Jer 10:17); doubtless the modern Neby Samwil, five miles north-west from Jerusalem, a short distance south-west from Ramah; see on Jos 18:26.

Verse 7 Edit

Jer 40:7Return of those who had been dispersed: they gather round Gedaliah. - Whilst the country and its capital were being conquered, many of the men of war had dispersed here and there through the land, and fled for refuge to regions difficult of access, where they could not be reached by the Chaldeans; others had even escaped into the territory of the Moabites, Ammonites, and Edomites. When these heard that now, after the destruction of Jerusalem and the carrying away of the captives, the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah as governor over the few people who had been left behind in the country, they returned from their several places of refuge, and came to Mizpah to Gedaliah, who promised them protection and safety, on condition that they would recognise the authority of the king of Babylon and peaceably cultivate the soil. שׂרי חילים, "leaders of the forces, captains." בּשׂדה, "in the country," as opposed to the city; שׂדה, "fields," as in Jer 17:3. אנשׁיהם, "their men," the troops under the captains. כּי הפקיד אתּו,

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"that he had committed to his oversight and care." "Men," viz., old, weak, infirm men; "women and children," whose husbands and fathers had perished; "and some of the poor of the country, of those who had not been carried captive to Babylon" (מן partitive), i.e., the poor and mean people whom the Chaldeans had left behind in the country (Jer 39:10).

Verses 8-12 Edit

These captains came to Mizpah, namely (ו explicative), Ishmael the son of Nethaniah (according to Jer 41:1, the grandson of Elishama, and of royal blood), Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah (cf. Jer 40:13 and Jer 41:11, Jer 41:16; Jer 42:1.; the name Jonathan is omitted in 2Ki 25:23; see on this passage), Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, and the sons of Ephai the Netophathite (from Netophah in the vicinity of Bethlehem, 1Ch 2:54; Ezr 2:22), Jezaniah (יזניהוּ; but in 2Ki 25:23 יאזניהוּ), the Maachathite, from Maachah, a district in Syria near Hermon, Deu 3:14; Jos 12:5. These men, who had borne arms against the Chaldeans, were concerned for their safety when they returned into the country. Gedaliah sware to them, i.e., promised them on oath, "Be not afraid to serve the Chaldeans; remain in the country and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you. And as for me, behold, I shall remain at Mizpah to stand before the Chaldeans who will come to us," i.e., as lieutenant of the king of Babylon, to represent you before the Chaldean officers and armies, to maintain your rights and interests, so that you may be able to settle down where you choose, without anxiety, and cultivate the land. "And as for yourselves, father ye wine and fruit (קיץ, see on 2Sa 16:1) and oil, and put them in your vessels." אסף is used of the ingathering of the fruits of the ground. It was during the fifth or sixth month (2Ki 25:8), the end of July or beginning of August, that grapes, figs, and olives became ripe; and these had grown so plentifully in comparison with the small number of those who had returned, that they could gather sufficient for their wants. "And dwell in your cities, cities which ye seize," i.e., which you shall take possession of. Jer 40:11. Those Jews also who had fled, during the war, into the neighbouring countries of Moab, Ammon, Edom, etc., returned to Judah when they learned that the king of Babylon had left a remnant, and

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placed Gedaliah over them; they came to Mizpah and Gedaliah, who appointed them places to dwell in, and they gathered much wine and fruit, i.e., made a rich vintage and fruit harvest. נתן שׁארית, "to give a remainder," as it were to leave a remainder ('הותיר שׁ'( redniamer, Jer 44:7, or 'שׂוּם שׁ, Gen 45:7).

Verses 13-16 Edit

Jer 40:13-16Gedaliah is forewarned of Ishmael's intention to murder him. - After the return of those who had taken refuge in Moab, etc., Johanan the son of Kareah, together with the rest of the captains who were scattered here and there through the country, came to Gedaliah at Mizpah, to say to him: "Dost thou know indeed that Baalis the king of the Ammonites hath sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to take thy life?" The words "that were in the country" are neither a gloss, nor a thoughtless repetition by some scribe from Jer 40:7 (as Hitzig and Graf suppose), but they are repeated for the purpose of distinguishing plainly between the captains with their men from the Jews who had returned out of Moab, Ammon, and Edom. הכּות, "to strike the soul, life" = to kill; cf. Gen 37:21; Deu 19:6. What induced the king of Ammon to think of assassination - whether it was personal hostility towards Gedaliah, or the hope of destroying the only remaining support of the Jews, and thereby perhaps putting himself in possession of the country, - cannot be determined. That he employed Ishmael for the accomplishment of his purpose, may have been owing to the fact that this man had a personal envy of Gedaliah; for Ishmael, being sprung from the royal family (Jer 40:1), probably could not endure being subordinate to Gedaliah. - The plot had become known, and Gedaliah was secretly informed of it by Johanan; but the former did not believe the rumour. Johanan then secretly offered to slay Ishmael, taking care that no one should know who did it, and urged compliance in the following terms: "Why should he slay thee, and all the Jews who have gathered themselves round thee be scattered, and the remnant of Judah perish?" Johanan thus called his attention to the evil consequences which would result to the remnant left in the land were he killed; but Gedaliah replied, "Do not this thing, for thou speakest a lie against Ishmael." The Qeri needlessly changes אל־תּעשׂ into אל־תּעשׂה; cf. Jer 39:12.

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Chap. 41 Edit

Verses 1-3 Edit

Jer 41:1-3Murder of Gedaliah and his followers, as well as other Jews, by Ishmael. - Jer 41:1-3. The warning of Johanan had been only too well founded. In the seventh month - only two months, therefore, after the destruction of Jerusalem and the appointment of Gedaliah as governor - Ishmael came with the men to Mizpah, and was hospitably received by Gedaliah and invited to his table. Ishmael is here more exactly described as to his family descent, for the purpose of throwing a stronger light upon the exceeding cruelty of the murders afterwards ascribed to him. He was the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama - perhaps the secretary of state mentioned Jer 36:12, or more likely the son of David who bore this name, 2Sa 5:6; 1Ch 3:8; 1Ch 14:7; so that Ishmael would belong to a lateral branch of the house of David, be of royal extraction, and one of the royal lords. ורבּי המּלך cannot be joined with Ishmael as the subject, because in what follows there is no further mention made of the royal lords, but only of Ishmael and his ten men; it belongs to what precedes, מזּרע המּלוּכּה, so that we must repeat מן before רבּי. The objections of Nägelsbach to this view will not stand examination. It is not self-evident that Ishmael, because he was of royal blood, was therefore also one of the royal nobles; for the רבּים certainly did not form a hereditary caste, but were perhaps a class of nobles in the service of the king, to which class the princes did not belong simply in virtue of their being princes. But the improbability that Ishmael should have been able with ten men to overpower the whole of the Jewish followers of Gedaliah, together with the Chaldean warriors, and (according to Jer 41:7) out of eighty men to kill some, making prisoners of the rest, is not so great as to compel us to take רבּי המּלך in such a meaning as to make it stand in contradiction with the statement, repeated twice, over, that Ishmael, with his ten men, did all this. Eleven men who are determined to commit murder can kill a large number of persons who are not prepared against such an attempt, and may also keep a whole district in terror.[11] "And they did eat bread there together," i.e., they were invited by Gedaliah to

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his table. While at meat, Ishmael and his ten men rose and slew Gedaliah with the sword. On account of ויּמת אתו, which comes after, Hitzig and Graf would change ויּכּוּ into ויּכּוּ, he slew him, Gedaliah; this alteration is possibly warranted, but by no means absolutely necessary. The words 'ויּמת אתו וגו, "and he killed him," contain a reflection of the narrator as to the greatness of the crime; in conformity with the facts of the case, the murder is ascribed only to the originator of the deed, since the ten men of Ishmael's retinue were simply his executioners. Besides Gedaliah, Ishmael killed "all the Jews that were with him, with Gedaliah in Mizpah, and the Chaldeans that were found there, the men of war." The very expression shows that, of the Jews, only those are meant who were present in the house with Gedaliah, and, of the Chaldean soldiers, only those warriors who had been allowed him as a guard, who for the time being were his servants, and who, though they were not, as Schmidt thinks, hausto liberalius vino inebriati, yet, as Chr. B. Michaelis remarks, were tunc temporis inermes et imparati. The Jews of post-exile times used to keep the third day of the seventh month as a fast-day, in commemoration of the murder of Gedaliah; see on Zec 7:3.

Verses 4-5 Edit

On the next day after the murder of Gedaliah, "when no man knew it," i.e., before the deed had become known beyond Mizpah, "there came eighty men from Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria," having all the tokens of mourning, "with their beards shaven, their clothes rent, and with cuts and scratches on their bodies (מתגּדדים, see on Jer 16:6), and a meat-offering and frankincense in their hand, to bring them into the house of Jahveh." The order in which the towns are named is not geographical; for Shiloh lay south from Shechem, and a little to the side from the straight road leading from Shechem to Jerusalem. Instead of שׁלו, the lxx (Cod. Vat.) have Σαλήμ; they use the same word as the name of a place in Gen 33:18, although the Hebrew שׁלם is there an adjective, meaning safe, in good condition. According to Robinson (Bibl. Res. iii. 102), there is a village named Sâlim

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three miles east from Nablûs (Shechem); Hitzig and Graf, on the strength of this, prefer the reading of the lxx, to preserve the order of the names in the text. But Hitzig has renounced this conjecture in the second edition of his Commentary, "because Sâlim in Hebrew would be שׁולם, not שׁלם." There is absolutely no foundation for the view in the lxx and in Gen 33:18; the supposition, moreover, that the three towns are given in their topographical order, and must have stood near each other, is also unfounded. Shechem may have been named first because the greater number of these men came from that city, and other men from Shiloh and Samaria accompanied them. These men were pious descendants of the Israelites who belonged to the kingdom of Israel; they dwelt among the heathen colonists who had been settled in the country under Esarhaddon (2Ki 17:24.), but, from the days of Hezekiah or Josiah, had continued to serve Jahveh in Jerusalem, where they used to attend the feasts (2Ch 34:9, cf. Jer 30:11). Nay, even after the destruction of Jerusalem, at the seasons of the sacred feasts, they were still content to bring at least unbloody offerings - meat-offerings and incense - on the still sacred spot where these things used to be offered to Jahveh; but just because this could now be done only on the ruins of what had once been the sanctuary, they appeared there with all the signs of deep sorrow for the destruction of this holy place and the cessation of sacrificial worship. In illustration of this, Grotius has adduced a passage from Papinian's instit. de rerum divis. § sacrae: "Locus in quo aedes sacrae sunt aedificatae, etiam diruto aedificio, sacer adhuc manet."  

Verses 6-7 Edit

Ishmael went out from Mizpah to meet these men, always weeping as he went (הלך הלך וּבכה, cf. Ges. §131, ab; Ew. §280, b). If they came from Ephraim by way of Gibeon (el Jîb), the road on to Jerusalem passed close by Mizpah. When Ishmael met them, he asked them to come to Gedaliah (to Mizpah). But when they had entered the city, "Ishmael slew them into the midst of the pit" (which was there), i.e., killed them and cast their corpses into the pit.

Verses 8-9 Edit

Only ten men out of the eighty saved their lives, and this by saying to Ishmael, "Do not kill us, for we have hidden stores in the field - wheat, and barley, and oil, and honey." מטמנים are excavations in the form of

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cisterns, or subterranean storehouses in the open country, for keeping grain; the openings or entrances to these are so concealed that the eye of a stranger could not perceive them. Such places are still universally employed in Palestine at the present day (Robinson's Palestine, i. pp. 324-5), and are also to be found in other southern countries, both in ancient and modern times; see proofs of this in Rosenmüller's Scholia ad hunc locum. It is remarked, in Jer 41:9, of the pit into which Ishmael threw the corpses, that it was the same that King Asa had made, i.e., had caused to be made, against, i.e., for protection against, Baasha the king of Israel. In the historical books there is no mention made of this pit in the account of the war between Asa and Baasha, 1Ki 15:16-22 and 2Ch 16:1-6; it is only stated in 1Ki 15:22 and 2Ch 16:6 that, after Baasha, who had fortified Ramah, had been compelled to return to his own land because of the invasion of Benhadad the Syrian king, whom Asa had called to his aid, the king of Judah ordered all his people to carry away from Ramah the stones and timber which Baasha had employed in building, and therewith fortify Geba and Mizpah. The expression מפּני בעשׁא certainly implies that the pit had been formed as a protection against Baasha, and belonged to the fortifications raised at that time. However, הבּור cannot mean the burial-place belonging to the city (Grotius), but only a cistern (cf. 2Ki 10:14); and one such as could contain a considerable store of water was as necessary as a wall and a moat for the fortification of a city, so that it might be able to endure a long siege (Graf). Hitzig, on the other hand, takes בּור to mean a long and broad ditch which cut off the approach to the city from Ephraim, or which, forming a part of the fortifications, made a break in the road to Jerusalem, though it was bridged over in times of peace, thus forming a kind of tunnel. This idea is certainly incorrect; for, according to Jer 41:7, the "ditch" was inside the city (בּתוך). The expression בּיד גּדליהוּ is obscure, and cannot be explained with any of certainty. בּיד cannot mean "through the fault of" Gedaliah (Raschi), or "because of" Gedaliah - for his sake (Kimchi, Umbreit), or "coram" Gedaliah (Venema), but must rather be rendered "by means of, through the medium of," or "at the side of, together with." Nägelsbach has decided

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for the rendering "by means of," giving as his reason the fact that Ishmael had made use of the name of Gedaliah in order to decoy these men into destruction. He had called to them, "Come to Gedaliah" (Jer 41:6); and simply on the authority of this name, they had followed him. But the employment of the name as a means of decoy can hardly be expressed by בּיד. We therefore prefer the meaning "at the hand = at the side of" (following the Syriac, L. de Dieu, Rosenmüller, Ewald), although this signification cannot be established from the passages cited by Rosenm. (1Sa 14:34; 1Sa 16:2; Ezr 7:23), nor can the meaning "together with" (Ewald) be shown to belong to it. On the other hand, a passage which is quite decisive for the rendering "by the hand of, beside," is Job 15:23 : "there stands ready at his hand (בּידו, i.e., close to him) a day of darkness." If we take this meaning for the passage now before us, then בּיד גּדליהוּ cannot be connected with אשׁר , in accordance with the Masoretic accents, but with השׁליך שׁם, "where Ishmael cast the bodies of the men whom he had slain, by the side of Gedaliah;" so that it is not stated till here and now, and only in a casual manner, what had become of Gedaliah's corpse. Nothing that admits of being proved can be brought against this view.[12]
The הוּא which follows is a predicate: "the ditch wherein...was that which Asa the king had formed."
The motive for this second series of assassinations by Ishmael is difficult to discover. The supposition that he was afraid of

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being betrayed, and for this reason killed these strangers, not wishing to be troubled with them, is improbable, for the simple reason that these strangers did not want to go to Mizpah, but to Jerusalem. For the supposition of Thenius (on 2Ki 25:23) and of Schmieder, that the people had intended going to Mizpah to a house of God that was there, is very properly rejected by Hitzig, because no mention is made in history of a place of worship at Mizpah; and, according to the express statement of Jer 41:6., Ishmael had enticed them into this city only by inviting them to come and see Gedaliah. Had Ishmael wished merely to conceal the murder of Gedaliah from these strangers, he ought to have done anything but let them into Mizpah. As little can we regard this deed (with Graf) as an act of revenge on these Israelites by Ishmael for the murder of his relations and equals in rank by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer 52:10), because these men, who had now for a long time been living together with heathens, were Assyrian and Chaldean subjects. For we cannot comprehend how he could look on these Israelites as friends of the Chaldeans, and vent his anger against the Chaldean rule by murdering them; the mournful procession which they formed, and the offerings they were carrying to present, proclaimed them faithful adherents of Judah. Nägelsbach, accordingly, is of opinion that Ishmael had simply intended robbery. As it is evident that he, a rough and wild man, had assassinated the noble Gedaliah from personal jealousy, and in order to further the political interest of his Ammonite patron, he must have been seeking to put himself in the position of his victim, or to flee. "When we find, moreover, that he soon murdered a peaceable caravan of pilgrims, and preserved the lives only of a few who offered to show him hidden treasures; when, finally, we perceive that the whole turba imbellis of Mizpah were seized and carried off into slavery, Ishmael proves himself a mere robber." But, though the fact that Ishmael spared the lives of the ten men who offered to show him hidden treasures seems to support this view, yet the supposition that nothing more than robbery was intended does not suffice to explain the double murder. The two series of assassinations plainly stand in the closest connection, and must have been executed from one and the same motive. It was at the instigation

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of the Ammonite king that Ishmael murdered Gedaliah; moreover, as we learn from the report brought to Gedaliah by Johanan (Jer 40:15), the crime was committed in the expectation that the whole of Judah would then be dispersed, and the remnant of them perish. This murder was thus the work of the Ammonite king, who selected the royally-descended Ishmael as his instrument simply because he could conveniently, for the execution of his plans, employ the personal envy of one man against another who had been preferred by the king of Babylon. There can be no doubt that the same motive which urged him to destroy the remnant of Judah, i.e., to frustrate the attempt to gather and restore Judah, was also at work in the massacre of the pilgrims who were coming to the temple. If Ishmael, the leader of a robber-gang, had entered into the design of the Ammonite king, then everything that might serve for the preservation and consolidation of Judah must have been a source of pain to him; and this hatred of his towards Judah, which derived its strength and support from his religious views, incited him to murder the Jewish pilgrims to the temple, although the prospect of obtaining treasures might well cooperate with this in such a way as to make him spare the ten men who pretended they had hidden stores. With this, too, we can easily connect the hypocritical dealing on the part of Ishmael, in going forth, with tears, to meet these pious pilgrims, so that he might deceive them by making such a show of grief over the calamity that had befallen Judah; fore the wicked often assume an appearance of sanctity for the more effectual accomplishment of their evil deeds. The lxx evidently did not know what to make of this passage as it stands; hence, in Jer 41:6, they have quite dropped the words "from Mizpah," and have rendered הלך הלך  by αὐτοὶ ἐπορεύοντο καὶ ἔκλαιον. Hitzig and Graf accept this as indicating the original text, since Ishmael had no ostensible ground for weeping. But the reasons which are supposed to justify this conjecture are, as Nägelsbach well remarks, of such a nature that one can scarcely believe they are seriously held.

Verse 10 Edit

After executing these murderous deeds, Ishmael led away into captivity all the people that still remained in Mizpah, the king's daughters and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had committed to the care of

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Gedaliah, intending to go over with them to the Ammonites. As the object of ויּשׁבּ is very far removed through the intervention of a relative clause, the connection is resumed by ויּשׁבּם. "The king's daughters" are not only the daughters of Zedekiah, but female members generally of the royal house, princesses, analogous to בּן־מלך, king's son = prince, Jer 36:26; Jer 38:6.

Verses 11-12 Edit

Jer 41:11-12  - Jer 41:11. When Johanan and the rest of the captains heard of what had taken place in Mizpah, they marched out with all their men to fight Ishmael, and came on him at the great water at Gibeon, i.e., by the pool at Gibeon which is mentioned 2Sa 2:13, one of the large receptacles for water which are still found there; see on 2Sa 2:13. Gibeon, now called el Jib (see on Jos 9:3), was situated only about two miles north from Mizpah; from which we may conclude that it was soon known what had happened, and the captains quickly assembled their men and marched after Ishmael.

Verses 13-15 Edit

When those who had been carried off by Ishmael saw these captains, they were glad, since they had followed their captor merely because they were forced to do so. They all turned, and went over to Johanan; but Ishmael escaped from Johanan, with eight men, - having thus lost two in the fight with Johanan, - and went to the Ammonites.

Verse 16 Edit

After the escape of Ishmael, it was to be feared that the Chaldeans would avenge the murder of the governor, and make the Jews who remained atone for the escape of the murderer by executing them or carrying them away to Babylon. Accordingly, Johanan and the other captains determined to withdraw to Egypt with the men, women, and children that had been carried off by Ishmael; these they conducted first to Bethlehem, where they encamped for the purpose of deliberating as to the rest of the journey, and taking due precautions. The account given in Jer 41:16 is clumsily expressed, especially the middle portion, between "whom he had brought back" and "the son of Ahikam;" and in this part the words "from Mizpah" are particularly troublesome in breaking the connection: "whom he (Johanan) had brought back from Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, from Mizpah, after he (Ishmael) had slain Gedaliah," while it is more correctly stated in the second

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relative clause, "whom he had brought back from Gibeon." Hitzig and Graf accordingly suppose that, originally, instead of  אשׁר השׁיב מאת, there stood in the text אשׁר שׁבה, "whom he (Ishmael) had led captive from Mizpah, after he had slain Gedaliah." Thus the whole becomes clear. Against this conjecture there only stands the fact that the lxx translate οὕς ἀπέστρεψεν ἀπὸ  ̓Ισμαήλ; they must thus have read אשׁר השׁיב מאת, and omitted merely המּצפּה as unsuited to the passage. However, the error may be even older than the lxx, and השׁיב מאת may easily have arisen through a scribe having glanced at the words אשׁר השׁיב of the last clause. The words from "men" to "chamberlains" form the more exact specification of the general expression "all the remnant of the people:" "men, viz., men of war, women (including the king's daughters, Jer 40:10), and children and chamberlains" (סריסים, guardians and servants of the female members of the royal family).

Verses 17-18 Edit

Jer 41:17-18 "They marched and stopped (made a half) at the inn if Chimham, which is near Bethlehem." גּרוּת, ἅπ.λεγ., considered etymologically, must mean diversorium, hospitium, an inn, khan, or caravanserai. Instead of the Kethib כמוהם, many codices read כּמהם (like the Qeri); nor, have any of the old translators read וּ or וׁ in the word. The Qeri is evidently correct, and we are to read כּמהם, the name of a son of Barzillai the rich Gileadite, 2Sa 19:38, 2Sa 19:41, who is supposed to have built or founded this caravanserai for the convenience of travellers. The words "because of the Chaldeans" in the beginning of Jer 41:18 depend on "to go to Egypt" at the end of the preceding verse: "to go to Egypt for fear of the Chaldeans," on account of the murder of Gedaliah by Ishmael. The Word of God Concerning the Flight to Egypt
At the halting-place near Bethlehem the captains and the people whom they led deem it necessary to inquire through Jeremiah as to the will of God regarding their intention; they betake themselves to the prophet with the request that he would address God in prayer for them regarding this matter, and they promise that they will, in any case, comply with the message that he may receive from God (Jer 42:1-6). Whereupon, after ten days, the word of the Lord came to the prophet, vv. 7-22,

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to the effect that, if they remained in the country, the Lord would take pity on them and protect them from the Chaldeans, and establish them; but, should they go to Egypt, against the will of the Lord, then the evil which they feared would follow them thither, so that they would perish by the sword, hunger, and pestilence.

Chap. 42 Edit

Verses 1-6 Edit

Jer 42:1-6"And there drew near all the captains, namely, Johanan the son of Kareah, and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people, from little to great, Jer 42:2. And said to Jeremiah the prophet, Let our supplication come before thee, and pray for us to Jahveh thy God, for all this remnant (for we are left a few out of many, as thine eyes see us); Jer 42:3. That Jahveh thy God may tell us the way in which we should go, and the thing that we should do." Of the captains, two, viz., Johanan and Jezaniah, are mentioned as the leaders of the people and the directors of the whole undertaking, who also, Jer 42:1., insolently accuse the prophet of falsehood, and carry out the proposed march to Egypt. Jezaniah is in Jer 40:8 called the Maachathite; here he is named in connection with his father, "the son of Hoshaiah;" while in Jer 43:2, in conjunction with Johanan the son of Kareah, Azariah the son of Hoshaiah is mentioned, which name the lxx also have in Jer 42:1 of this chapter. Hitzig, Ewald, etc., are consequently of the opinion that יזניה in our verse has been written by mistake for עזריה. But more probable is the supposition that the error is in the עזריה of Jer 43:2, inasmuch as there is no reason to doubt the identity of Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah with the Jezaniah descended from Maacha (Jer 40:8); and the assumption that יזניה is incorrect in two passages (Jer 42:1 and Jer 40:8) is highly improbable. They go to the prophet Jeremiah, whom they had taken with them from Mizpah, where he was living among the people, with the rest of the inhabitants of the place (Jer 41:16). תּפּל־נא  as in Jer 37:20; see on Jer 36:7. The request made to the prophet that he would intercede for them with the Lord, which they further urge on the ground that the number left out of the whole people is small, while there is implied in this the wish that God may not let this small remnant also perish; - this request Nägelsbach considers a piece of hypocrisy, and the form of asking the prophet "a mere farce,"

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since it is quite plain from Jer 43:1-6 that the desire to go to Egypt was already deeply rooted in their minds, and from this they would not allow themselves to be moved, even by the earnest warning of the prophet. But to hypocrites, who were playing a mere farce with the prophet, the Lord would have probably replied in a different way from what we find in Jer 42:8-22. As the Searcher of hearts, He certainly would have laid bare their hypocrisy. And however unequivocally the whole address implies the existence of disobedience to the voice of God, it yet contains nothing which can justify the assumption that it was only in hypocrisy that they wished to learn the will of God. We must therefore assume that their request addressed to the prophet was made in earnest, although they expected that the Lord's reply would be given in terms favourable to their intention. They wished to obtain from God information as to which way they should go, and what they should do, - not as to whether they should remain in the country or go to Egypt. "The way that we should go" is, of course, not to be understood literally, as if they merely wished to be told the road by which they would most safely reach Egypt; neither, on the other hand, are the words to be understood in a merely figurative sense, of the mode of procedure they ought to pursue; but they are to be understood of the road they ought to take in order to avoid the vengeance of the Chaldeans which they dreaded, - in the sense, whither they ought to go, in order to preserve their lives from the danger which threatened them.

Verses 4-6 Edit

Jeremiah replies: "I have heard (i.e., acceded to your request); behold, I will pray to Jahveh your God, according to your words; and it shall come to pass that whatever Jahveh answers you I will tell you, I will not keep anything from you." Jer 42:5. They said further: "Let Jahveh be a true and faithful witness against us, if we do not just according to all the word which Jahveh thy God shall send thee (to declare) unto us. Jer 42:6. Whether it be good or bad, we shall obey the voice of Jahveh our God, to whom we send thee, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of Jahveh our God." עד, Pro 14:25, and נאמן, Isa 8:2; Psa 89:38. Both predicates occupy emphatic positions. God is to be a faithful witness, not in regard to the

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truth of what they say, but as regards the fulfilment of their promise, so that, if they would not obey His word, He might come forward to punish them. ישׁלחך is construed with a double accusative: to send away a person with something, i.e., to give him a commission. After "whether it be good or evil," there is no need for supplying "in our eyes" (בּעינינוּ), as Hitzig and Graf allege: "whether it please us or not;" the subject is הדּבר: "we will obey the word, whether it be good or evil," i.e., whether it announce good or evil to come (cf. Ecc 12:14). The Kethib אנוּ occurs only in this passage in the Old Testament; the Qeri accordingly substitutes אנחנוּ: the former, however, is taken from the vulgar tongue, and should not be altered here. כּי נשׁמע does not mean "because we obey," but "when we obey." The hearing is the condition, not the cause of the prosperity.

Verses 7-11 Edit

Jer 42:7-11The word of the Lord. - At the end of ten days, the reply that had been asked for came from the Lord. Hitzig and Graf think that Jeremiah had lingered ten days with the answer, in order to obtain strong and clear conviction, "matured through his own meditation, probably also in part confirmed by the arrival of further news." This opinion is characterized by Nägelsbach as "in harmony with modern science, but unhistorical;" it should rather be called unscriptural, as resting on a denial of divine inspiration. The reason why the Lord did not make known His will to the prophet for ten days was a disciplinary one. By waiting, those who asked would get time for bethinking themselves, and for quietly considering the situation of affairs, so that they might be able, calmly and collectedly, to receive and obey the answer of God, which was far from satisfying the fears and wishes of their heart. Jer 42:8. Jeremiah called the captains and all the people together, and announced to them as follows: Jer 42:9. "Thus saith Jahveh, the God of Israel, to whom ye have sent me, that I might bring your supplication before Him: Jer 42:10. If ye will indeed abide in this land, then will I build you up and not pull down; and I will plant you, but not root out; for I repent of the evil that I have done to you. Jer 42:11. Be not afraid of the king of Babylon, whom ye fear, be not afraid of him, saith Jahveh; for I am with you to save you and to deliver you out

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of his hand. Jer 42:12. And I will get pity for you, so that he shall take pity on you, and bring you back to your land. Jer 42:13. But if ye say, We will not remain in this land, so that ye will not obey the voice of Jahveh your God, Jer 42:14. Saying, Nay, but we will go to the land of Egypt, that we may not see war nor hear the wound of a trumpet, and we shall not hunger after bread, and we will dwell there. - Jer 42:15. Now therefore hear the word of Jahveh, ye remnant of Judah: Thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel, If ye do indeed set your face to go to Egypt, and go to sojourn there, Jer 42:16. Then shall the sword, of which ye are afraid, overtake you there, in the land of Egypt, and hunger, which ye dread, shall there follow hard after you, in Egypt, and there shall ye die. Jer 42:17. And all the men who have set their face to go to Egypt, to sojourn there, shall die by the sword, and through hunger, and from the plague; nor shall they have any one left or escaped from the evil which I will bring on them. Jer 42:18. For thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: As mine anger and my wrath were poured out upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so shall my wrath be poured out upon you when ye go to Egypt, and ye shall become an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach, and ye shall not see this place again. - Jer 42:19. Jahveh hath spoken to you, O remnant of Judah. Go not to Egypt: ye shall know for certain that I have warned you to-day. Jer 42:20. For ye err at the risk of your souls when ye sent me to Jahveh your God, saying, Pray for us to Jahveh our God, and according to all that Jahveh our God shall say to us, so tell us, and we will do it. Jer 42:21. Now I have told you to-day, and ye have not obeyed the voice of Jahveh your God, nor in anything for which He hath sent me unto you. Jer 42:22. Now, therefore, ye must surely know that ye shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence in the place whither ye have been pleased to go to sojourn."
The Lord's reply extends as far as Jer 42:18; the last four verses (19-22) form an epilogue, a further address by the prophet, in which he once more specially impresses God's resolution on the minds of the people. The answer of God consists (1) in the promise that, if they will remain in the land, the Lord is willing to build them up, and protect them from

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the wrath of the king of Babylon (Jer 42:9-12); and (2) the threat that, if they will go to Egypt against the advice and will of the Lord, they shall certainly perish there by the sword, famine, and pestilence (Jer 42:13-18). On the expression הפּיל תּהנּה, see on Jer 36:7. שׁוב (Jer 42:10) can only be inf. abs. of ישׁב, for ישׁוב ; if we view it as coming from שׁוּב morf , we get no suitable meaning, for the thought si revertendo illuc manseritis in hâc terrâ (C. B. Michaelis) could not be expressed by שׁוב תּשׁבוּ. Certainly there is no other instance of such a form as שׁוב being used for ישׁוב; in a verb like ישׁב, however, which drops the י in the inf. constr., a like omission in the inf. abs. is quite conceivable, while the supposition of some injury having been done to the text (Olshausen, Gram. §89) is less probable. On the expression, "I will build you," etc., cf. Jer 24:6; Jer 31:4; Jer 33:7. "I repent of the evil" is an anthropopathic expression for the cancelling of a penal sentence: cf. Joe 2:14, etc. - In Jer 42:11, the repetition of the words "do not fear him" produces special emphasis.

Verse 12 Edit

Jer 42:12 "I shall give you compassion," i.e., obtain it for you, so that the king of Babylon will show pity on you; cf. Gen 43:14; 1Ki 8:50. J. D. Michaelis, Hitzig, Ewald, and Graf, following the lxx, Vulgate, and Syriac, would change והשׁיב into הושׁיב (make you dwell); but there is no necessity for this, since השׁיב makes good enough sense, provided we refer it, not to the return of those who had been exiled to Babylon, but, as the connection requires, to the departure from Mizpah, after the half near Bethlehem, in the intended flight to Egypt; we must, besides, view this departure as a complete forsaking of their country, and the leaders in this emigration as being fugitives who had fled before the Chaldeans, and had returned only a short time before, for the purpose of settling down again in the country.

Verses 13-16 Edit

The threatening if, in spite of warning and against God's will, they should still persist in going to Egypt. The protasis of the conditional sentence begun in Jer 42:13, "If ye say," etc., extends onwards through Jer 42:14; the apodosis is introduced co-ordinately with the commencement of Jer 42:15, "Now therefore," etc. קול שׁופר, "the sound of war-trumpet," as in Jer 4:19. On "hungering after bread," cf. Amo 8:11. הלחם (with

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the article) is the bread necessary for life. "The remnant of Judah" is to be understood of those who still remained in the land, as is shown by Jer 42:2; see also Jer 42:19, Jer 43:5; Jer 44:12, Jer 44:14. The warning given in Jer 42:16 contains the idea that the very evil which they feared would come on them in Judah will befall them in Egypt. There they shall perish by sword, famine, and plague, since Nebuchadnezzar will conquer Egypt; cf. Jer 43:8-13.

Verses 17-22 Edit

Jer 42:17-22 ויהיוּ, used instead of the impersonal והיה, is referred to the following subject by a rather unusual kind of attraction; cf. Ewald, §345, b. All the men who set their faces, i.e., intend, to go to Egypt shall perish; not a single one shall escape the evil; for the same judgment of wrath which has befallen Jerusalem shall also come on those who flee to Egypt; cf. Jer 7:20. On the expression "ye shall become a curse," etc., cf. Jer 24:9; Jer 25:18; Jer 29:18.
Taking for granted that the leaders of the people will not obey, Jeremiah appends to the word of the Lord an earnest address, in which several points are specially insisted on, viz., that the Lord had spoken to them, that He had forbidden them to go to Egypt, and that he (the prophet), by proclaiming the word of the Lord, had warned them (העיד בּ, to testify, bear witness against a person, i.e., warn him of something, cf. Jer 11:7). Thus he discloses to them the dangerous mistake they are in, when they first desire some expression of the mind of the Lord regarding their intentions, and, in the hope that He will accede to their request, promise unconditional obedience to whatever He may direct, but afterwards, when they have received a message from the Lord, will not obey it, because it is contrary to what they wish. The Kethib התעתים has been incorrectly written for התעיים, the Hiphil from תּעה, to err; here, as in Pro 10:17, it means to make a mistake. בּנפשׁותיכם, not, "you mislead your own selves," decepistis animas vestras (Vulg.), nor "in your souls," - meaning, in your thoughts and intentions (Nägelsbach), - but "at the risk of your souls," your life; cf. Jer 17:21. וּלכל אשׁר (Jer 42:21), "and that in regard to all that for which Jahveh has sent me to you," points back to their promise, Jer 42:5, that they would do "according to all the word." By employing the perfect in Jer 42:20, Jer 42:21, the thing is represented as quite certain, as if it had already taken place. Jer 42:22 concludes

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the warning with a renewed threat of the destruction which shall befall them for their disobedience.

Chap. 43 Edit

Verses 1-3 Edit

Jer 43:1-3The march of the people to Egypt. - When Jeremiah had thus ended all the words which the Lord had announced to him for the people, then came forward Azariah (probably an error for Jezaniah, see on Jer 42:1) the son of Hoshaiah, Johanan the son of Kareah, and the rest of the insolent men, and said to Jeremiah, "Thou dost utter falsehood; Jahveh our God hath not sent thee unto us, saying, Ye must not go to Egypt to sojourn there; Jer 43:3. But Baruch the son of Neriah inciteth thee against us, in order to give us into the hand of the Chaldeans, to kill us, and to take us captive to Babylon." אמרים is not the predicate to כּל־האנשׁים, but forms a resumption of ויּאמר, with which it thus serves to connect its object, Jeremiah, and from which it would otherwise be pretty far removed. Azariah (or, more correctly, Jezaniah) occupies the last place in the enumeration of the captains, Jer 40:8, and in Jer 42:1 is also named after Johanan, who is the only one specially mentioned, in what follows, as the leader on the march. From this we may safely conclude that Jezaniah was the chief speaker and the leader of the opposition against the prophet. To avoid any reference to the promise they had made to obey the will of God, they declare that Jeremiah's prophecy is an untruth, which had been suggested to him, not by God, but by his attendant Baruch, with the view of delivering up the people to the Chaldeans.

Verses 4-7 Edit

Thereupon Johanan and the other captains took "all the remnant of Judah, that had returned from all the nations whither they had been driven, to dwell in the land of Judah-the men and women and children, the king's daughters, and all the souls whom Nebuzaradan, chief of the body-guard, had committed to Gedaliah...and Jeremiah the prophet, and Baruch the son of Neriah, - and went to the land of Egypt - for they did not hearken to the voice of Jahveh - and came to Tahpanhes." In this enumeration of those who were conducted to Egypt, Hitzig, Graf, and others distinguish two classes:

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(1) the men, women, children, etc., who had been in Mizpah with Gedaliah, and had been led to Gibeon, after the murder of the latter, by Ishmael, but had afterwards been brought to Bethlehem by Johanan and the other captains (Jer 43:6, cf. Jer 40:7; Jer 41:10, Jer 41:16); (2) those who had returned from the foreign countries whither they had fled, but who had hitherto lived in the country, scattered here and there, and who must have joined the company led by Johanan to Bethlehem during the ten days of halt at that resting-place (Jer 43:5, cf. Jer 40:11-12). There is no foundation, however, for this distinction. Neither in the present chapter is there anything mentioned of those who had been dispersed through the land joining those who had marched to Bethlehem; nor are the Jews who had returned from Moab, Ammon, Edom, and other countries to their own home distinguished, in Jer 40 and 41, as a different class from those who had been with Gedaliah in Mizpah; but on the other hand, according to Jer 40:12, these returned Jews also came to Gedaliah at Mizpah, and gathered grapes and fruit. Besides, in these verses the distinction can only be made after the insertion into the text of the conjunction ו before את־הגּברים. To "all the remnant of Judah who had returned from the nations" belong the men, women, children, etc., whom Nebuzaradan had committed to the care of Gedaliah. The enumeration in Jer 43:6 gives only one specification of the "whole remnant of Judah," as in Jer 41:16. "And all the souls;" as if it were said, "and whoever else was still left alive;" cf. Jos 10:28. Tahpanhes was a frontier town of Egypt on the Pelusian branch of the Nile, and named Δάφναι by the Greeks; see on Jer 2:16. Here, on the borders of Egypt, a halt was made, for the purpose of coming to further resolutions regarding their residence in that country. Here, too, Jeremiah received a revelation from God regarding the fate now impending on Egypt.

Verses 8-11 Edit

Jer 43:8-11Prediction regarding Egypt. - Jer 43:8. "And the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, saying, Jer 43:9. Take in thine hand large stones, and hide them in the clay in the brick-kiln, which is at the entrance to the house of Pharaoh in Taphanhes, in the eyes of the Jews; Jer 43:10. And say to them: Thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel,

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Behold, I will send and take Nebuchadrezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and will place his throne over these stones which I have hidden, and he shall stretch his tapestry over them. Jer 43:11. And he shall come and smite the land of Egypt, (he who is) for death, to death, - (he who is) for captivity, to captivity, - (he who is) for the sword, to the sword. Jer 43:12. And I will kindle fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt, and he shall burn them and carry them away; and he shall wrap the land of Egypt round him as the shepherd wraps his cloak round him, and thence depart in peace. Jer 43:13. And he shall destroy the pillars of Beth-shemesh, which is in the land of Egypt, and the houses of the gods of the Egyptians shall he burn with fire."
This prophecy is introduced by a symbolical action, on which it is based. But in spite of the fact that the object of the action is stated in the address which follows, the action itself is not quite plain from the occurrence of בּמּלבּן, whose usual meaning, "brick-kiln" (cf. Nah 3:14), does not seem suitable here. Eichhorn and Hitzig think it absurd that there should be found before the door of a royal habitation a brick-kiln on which a king was to place his throne. From the Arabic malbin, which also signifies a rectangular figure like tile or brick, and is used of the projecting entablature of doors, - from the employment, also, in the Talmud of the word מלבּן to signify a quadrangular tablet in the form of a tile, - Hitzig would claim for the word the meaning of a stone floor, and accordingly renders, "and insert them with mortar into the stone flooring." But the entablatures over doors, or quadrangular figures like bricks, are nothing like a stone flooring or pavement before a palace. Besides, in the way of attaching to the word the signification of a "brick-kiln," - a meaning which is well established, - or even of a brickwork, the difficulties are not so great as to compel us to accept interpretations that have no foundation. We do not need to think of a brick-kiln or brickwork as being always before the palace; as Neumann has observed, it may have indeed ben there, although only for a short time, during the erecting of some part of the palace; nor need it have been just at the palace gateway, but a considerable distance away from it, and

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on the opposite side. Alongside of it there was lying mortar, an indispensable building material. טמן, "to hide," perhaps means here not merely to embed, but to embed in such a way that the stones could not very readily be perceived. Jeremiah was to press down the big stones, not into the brick-kiln, but into the mortar which was lying at (near) the brick-kiln, - to put them, too, before the eyes of the Jews, inasmuch as the meaning of this act had a primary reference to the fate of the Jews in Egypt. The object of the action is thus stated in what follows: Jahveh shall bring the king of Babylon and set his throne on these stones, so that he shall spread out his beautiful tapestry over them. שׁפרוּר (Qeri שׁפריר), an intensive form of שׁפר, שׁפרה, "splendour, beauty," signifies a glittering ornament, - here, the decoration of the throne, the gorgeous tapestry with which the seat of the throne was covered. The stones must thus form the basis for the throne, which the king of Babylon will set up in front of the palace of the king of Egypt at Tahpanhes. But the symbolical meaning of this action is not thereby exhausted. Not merely is the laying of the stones significant, but also the place where they are laid, - at the entrance, or opposite Pharaoh's palace. This palace was built of tiles or bricks: this is indicated by the brick-kiln and the mortar. The throne of the king of Babylon, on the contrary, is set up on large stones. The materials of which the palace and the throne are formed, shadow forth the strength and stability of the kingdom. Pharaoh's dominion is like crumbling clay, the material of bricks; the throne which Nebuchadnezzar shall set up opposite the clay-building of the Pharaohs rests on large stones, - his rule will be powerful and permanent. According to Jeremiah's further development of the symbol in Jer 43:11., Nebuchadnezzar will come to Egypt (the Kethib באה is to be read בּאה, "he came down," to Egypt, בּוא being construed with the accus.), and will smite the land together with its inhabitants, so that every man will receive his appointed lot, viz., death by pestilence, imprisonment, and the sword, i.e., death in battle. On the mode of representation here, cf. Jer 15:2.

Verse 12 Edit

He shall burn the temples of the gods of Egypt, and carry away the idols. The first person הצּתּי, for which lxx, Syriac, and Vulgate have the third, must not be meddled with;

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it corresponds to שׂמתּי in Jer 43:10. What Nebuchadnezzar does as Jahveh's servant (עבדּי, Jer 43:10) is done by God. The suffixes in שׂרפם and שׁבּם are assigned in such a way that the one is to be referred to the temples, the other to the idols; see on Jer 48:7. - ועטה has been variously interpreted. עטה with the accus. מעיל or שׂלמה means the envelope one's self with a garment, put on a garment, wrap the cloak round; cf. 1Sa 28:14; Psa 109:19; Isa 59:17, etc. This is the meaning of the verb here, as is shown by the clause expressing the comparison. The point of likeness is the easiness of the action. Ewald has very well explained the meaning of the whole: "As easily as any shepherd in the open field wraps himself in his cloak, so will he take the whole of Egypt in his hand, and be able to throw it round him like a light garment, that he may then, thus dressed as it were with booty, leave the land in peace, without a foe, - a complete victor." Other explanations of the word are far-fetched, and lexically untenable.

Verse 13 Edit

In conclusion, mention is further made of the destruction of the famous temple of the Sun at Heliopolis, to show the fulfilment of the prophecy that all Egypt would fall under the power of Nebuchadnezzar. בּית שׁמשׁ, "House of the Sun," is the Hebrew rendering of the Egyptian Pe - râ, i.e., House of the Sun, the sacred name of the city vulgarly called On; see on Gen 41:45. It lay north-east from Cairo, near the modern village of Matarieh, and thus pretty far inland; it was renowned for its magnificent temple, dedicated to , the Sun-god. At the entrance to this building stood several larger and smaller obelisks, of which the two larger, added to the two older ones by Pheron the son of Sesostris, were about 150 feet high. One of these the Emperor Augustus caused to be brought to Rome; the other was thrown down in the year 1160; while one of the more ancient but smaller obelisks still stands in its original position, raising its head in the midst of a beautiful garden over a mass of dense foliage. These obelisks are signified by מצּבות. The additional clause, "which is in the land of Egypt," does not belong to Beth-shemesh, as if it were appended for the purpose of distinguishing the city so named from Beth-shemesh in the land of Judah; the words are rather connected with מצּבות, and correspond with אלהי מצרים in the parallel member of the verse. The obelisks

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of the most famous temple of the Egyptian Sun-god are well known as the most splendid representatives of the glory of the Egyptian idolatry: the destruction of these monuments indicates the ruin of all the sanctuaries of the ancient kingdom of the Pharaohs. The last clause is a kind of re-echo from Jer 43:12; ישׂרף is strengthened by the addition of בּאשׁ for the purpose of giving a sonorous ending to the whole. - The king of Egypt is not named in the prophecy, but according to Jer 44:30 it is Pharaoh-Hophra, who is to be given into the power of Nebuchadnezzar.
When we inquire as to the fulfilment of this prediction, we find M. Duncker, in his Gesch. des Alterthums, i. 841, giving a reply in these words: "Nebuchadnezzar did not fulfil these expectations (of Jeremiah, Jer 43:8-13; Jer 44:30, and of Ezekiel, Jer 29:32). He contented himself with having repelled the renewed attack of Egypt. The establishment of his dominion in Syria did not depend on his conquering Egypt; but Syria must obey him, throughout its whole extent. The capture of Jerusalem followed the siege of the island-town of Tyre (b.c. 586), the last city that had maintained its independence. The army of the Chaldean slay thirteen years before Tyre without being able to bring the king Ethbaal (Ithobal) under subjection. At last, in the year 573, a treaty was concluded, in which the Tyrians recognised the supremacy of the king of Babylon." That Tyre was brought into subjection is inferred by Duncker (in a note, p. 682), first, from the generally accepted statement of Berosus, that the whole of Phoenicia was subdued by Nebuchadnezzar (Josephus' Ant. x. 11. 1, and contra Ap. i. 19); secondly, from Josephus' statement (contra Ap. i. 21), that the kings Merbal and Hiram had been brought by the Tyrians from Babylon; and lastly, from the fact that, with the close of the siege, the reign of Ithobal ends and that of Baal begins. "It would thus appear that Ithobal was removed, and his family carried to Babylon." These facts, which are also acknowledged by Duncker, sufficiently show (what we have already pointed out in Ezekiel) that the siege of Tyre ended with the taking of this island-city. For, unless the besieged city had been taken by storm, or at least compelled to surrender, the king would not have let himself be dethroned

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and carried to Babylon. - But whence has Duncker derived the information that Nebuchadnezzar had no concern with the subjugation of Egypt, but merely with the establishment of his authority in Syria? Although Nebuchadnezzar began the siege of the island-city of Tyre soon after the destruction of Jerusalem, and required thirteen years to reduce it, yet it does not by any means follow from this that he had only to do with the strengthening of his authority in Syria, and no connection with the subjugation of Egypt; all that we can safely infer is, that he thought he could not attempt the conquest of Egypt with any certain prospect of success until he had subdued the whole of Syria. Besides, so long as such an one as Pharaoh-Hophra occupied the throne of Egypt, - who had not only sent an army to Zedekiah king of Judah to raise the siege of Jerusalem, but also (according to Herodotus, ii. 161, who draws from Egyptian sources) led an army to Sidon and fought a naval battle with the Tyrians; who (as Diod. Sic. i. 68 relates, also following Egyptian tradition) set out for Cyprus with abundant war-material and a strong army and fleet, and took Sidon by storm, while the rest of the towns submitted through fear; who, moreover, had defeated the Phoenicians and Cyprians in a naval engagement, and had returned to Egypt with immense spoil; - how could Nebuchadnezzar possibly think that his rule in Syria was firmly established? Such statements as those now referred to even Duncker does not venture to reject. We must, however, view them with a regard to the usual exaggerations by which the Egyptians were accustomed to extol the deeds of their Pharaohs; but after making all due allowance, we are led to this, that, after the fall of Tyre, Hophra sought to prevent the island of Cyprus as well as Tyre from becoming a dependency of Nebuchadnezzar. Could Nebuchadnezzar leave unmolested such an enemy as this, who, on the first suitable opportunity, would attempt to wrest the whole of Syria from him? So short-sighted a policy we could not attribute to such a conqueror as Nebuchadnezzar. Much more considerate is the judgment previously expressed regarding this by Vitringa, on Isa 19: "Etiamsi omnis historia hic sileret, non est probabile, Nebucadnezarem magnum dominatorem gentium, post Palaestinam et Phoeniciam subactam, non tentasse Aegyptum,

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et si tentaverit, tentasse frustra; et quâ parte Aegyptum occupavit, eam non vastasse et desolasse."
It is also to be borne in mind that the conquest of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar, which is denied by Hitzig and Graf as well as Duncker, as it formerly was by Volney, is vouched for by the trustworthy testimony of Berosus (in Josephus, contra Ap. i. 19), who says that Nebuchadnezzar took Egypt (κρατῆσαι Αἰγύπτου,  ̓Αραβίας, κ.τ.λ.); the denial, too, rests on a mere inference from the account given by Herodotus from the traditions of the priests regarding the reign of Apriës (Hophra). If the witness of Berosus regarding the conquest of Syria and Phoenicia be trustworthy, why should his testimony concerning Egypt be unreliable? The account of Josephus (Ant. x. 9. 7), that Nebuchadnezzar, in the fifth year after the capture of Jerusalem, and the twenty-third year of his reign, invaded Egypt, killed the king (Hophra), put another in his place, and led captive to Babylon the Jews that had fled to Egypt, - this account will not admit of being brought forward (as has often been attempted, and anew, of late, by Mrc. von Niebuhr, Assur und Babel, S. 215) as sufficient testimony for a successful campaign carried on by Nebuchadnezzar against Egypt during the siege of Tyre. The difficulty in the way of proving that such a campaign actually took place is not so much that the death of Hophra in battle with Nebuchadnezzar, or his execution afterwards, contradicts all authenticated history, as that the particular statements of Josephus regarding this campaign, both as to the date and the carrying away to Babylon of the Jews that had fled to Egypt, are simply conclusions drawn from a combination of Jer 43:8-13 and Jer 44:30 with Jer 52:20; besides, the execution of King Hophra by Nebuchadnezzar is foretold neither by Jeremiah nor by Ezekiel. Ezekiel, in Jer 29-32, merely predicts the decline of the Egyptian influence, the breaking of the arm of Pharaoh, i.e., of his military power, and his fall into Sheol; but he does it in so ideal a manner, that even the words of Jer 30:13, "there shall be no more a prince out of the land of Egypt," - i.e., Egypt shall lose all her princes, just as her idols have been destroyed, - even these words cannot well be applied to the execution of Pharaoh-Hophra. But Jeremiah, in Jer 43:1-13 and in Jer 46:13., predicts merely

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the downfall of the pride and power of Pharaoh, and the conquest, devastation, and spoiling of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar. And even in the words of Jer 44:30, "I (Jahveh) will deliver Pharaoh-Hophra into the hand of his enemies, and of those who seek his life, just as I delivered Zedekiah the king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar his enemy, and of those who sought after his life," there is nothing definitely stated regarding Hophra's being executed by Nebuchadnezzar, or killed in battle with him. Such a reference cannot be made out from the words, even though we lay no emphasis on the plural "his enemies," in contrast with the expression "Nebuchadnezzar his enemy," and, according to Jer 46:26, understand Nebuchadnezzar and his servants as being included under the "enemies;" for certainly Zedekiah was not killed by Nebuchadnezzar, but merely taken prisoner and carried to Babylon. Besides, there was no need of special proof that the prophecies of Jeremiah regarding Egypt declare much more important matters than merely an expedition of Chaldean soldiers to Egypt, as well as the plunder of some cities and the carrying away of the Jews who resided there; and that, in Jer 44, what the Jews who went to Egypt against the will of God are threatened with, is not transportation to Babylon, but destruction in Egypt by sword, hunger, and pestilence, until only a few individuals shall escape, and these shall return to Judah (Jer 44:14, Jer 44:27-28).
But if we compare with the prophecy of Jeremiah in Jer 43:8-13, and in Jer 46:13-26, that of Ezekiel in Jer 29:17-21, which was uttered or composed in the twenty-seventh year of the captivity of Jehoiachin, i.e., in the year 573, it becomes abundantly evident that Nebuchadnezzar cannot have invaded and conquered Egypt before that year, and not till after the fall of Tyre, which immediately ensued. And that this was actually the case, is put beyond doubt by the statement of Herodotus, ii. 161ff., regarding Apriës, that he lost his throne and his life in consequence of being defeated in battle with the Cyrenians. What Herodotus assigns as the cause of the fall of Apriës, is insufficient to account for the unhappy end of this king. Herodotus himself states, ii. 169, that the Egyptians were filled with the most intense hatred

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against Apriës; the monuments also bear witness to this fact. This bitter feeling must have had a deeper source than merely the unsuccessful issue of a war with Cyrene; it receives its explanation only when we find that Apriës, by his attempts against Nebuchadnezzar, had deserved and brought on the subjugation of Egypt by the king of Babylon; cf. Hävernick on Ezekiel, p. 500. By sending an auxiliary army to Judah, for the purpose of driving back the Chaldeans, and by forming an expedition to Cyprus and the cities of Phoenicia, which was evidently directed against the establishment of the Chaldean power in Phoenicia, Apriës had so provoked the king of Babylon, that the latter, immediately after the subjugation of Tyre, entered on the campaign against Egypt, which he invaded, subdued, and spoiled, without, however, killing the king; him he preferred allowing to rule on, but as his vassal, and under the promise that he would recognise his authority and pay tribute, just as had been done with King Jehoiakim when Jerusalem was first taken. If all this actually took place (which we may well assume), Apriës might probably have begun another war against Cyrene, after the Chaldeans had departed, in the hope of procuring some small compensation to the Egyptians for the defeat they had suffered from the Chaldeans, by subduing that province in the west; in this war the king might have lost his life, as Herodotus relates, through want of success in his attempt. In this say, the account of Herodotus regarding the death of Apriës quite agrees with the conquest of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar. But that Herodotus makes no mention of the conquest of Egypt, is sufficiently accounted for when we remember that he derived his information from the stories of the priests, who carefully omitted all mention of a struggle between Egypt and the power of Chaldea, since this had ended in the humiliation of Egypt; hence also mention was made only of the victories and mighty deeds of Necho II, while his defeat at Carchemish was passed over in silence. Warning Against Idolatry, and Intimation of Its Punishment
When the Jews had settled down in Egypt in different places, they betook themselves zealously to the worship of the

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queen of heaven; to this they were probably induced by the example of the heathen round about them, and by the vain expectation of thereby promoting their interests as members of the community (cf. Jer 44:17.). Accordingly, when all the people who were living here and there through the country had assembled in Upper Egypt (Jer 44:15) for the celebration of the festival, the prophet seized the opportunity of setting before them, in an earnest manner, the ruinous consequences of their doings. First of all, he reminds them of the judgments which they and their fathers, by their continued apostasy from the Lord, and by their idolatry, had brought on Jerusalem and Judah (Jer 44:2-7); and he warns them not to bring destruction on the remnant of Judah still left, by continuing in their idolatry (Jer 44:8-10). The threatening also is expressed, that the Lord will destroy all those who marched to Egypt with the sword, famine, and pestilence (Jer 44:11-14). But the whole assembly declare to him that they will not obey his word, but persist in worshipping the queen of heaven; alleging that their fathers prospered so long as they honoured her, and war and famine had come on them only after they ceased to do so (Jer 44:15-19). Jeremiah refutes this false notion (Jer 44:20-23), and once more solemnly announces to them the sentence of destruction by sword and famine in Egypt. As a sign that the Lord will keep His word, he finally predicts that King Hophra shall be delivered into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.

Chap. 44 Edit

Verse 1 Edit

Jer 44:1"The word that came to Jeremiah regarding all the Jews who were living in the land of Egypt, who dwelt in Migdol, in Tahpanhes, in Noph, and in the land of Pathros." From this heading we perceive that those who (according to Jer 43:1-13) had gone to Egypt, had settled there in various parts of the country, and that the following denunciations, which at the same time form his last prophecy, were uttered a long time after that which is given in Jer 43:8-13 as having been delivered at Tahpanhes. The date of it cannot, indeed, be determined exactly. From the threatening that King Hophra shall be delivered over to the power of Nebuchadnezzar (Jer 44:24-30), only this much is clear, that Egypt was not yet occupied by the Chaldeans, which, as we have shown above

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(p. 353), did not take place before the year 572. But it by no means follows from this that Jeremiah did not utter these words of threatening till shortly before this event. He may have done so even five or ten years before, in the period between 585 and 580, as we have already observed on p. 12. The Jews had settled down, not merely in the two northern frontier towns, Migdol (i.e., Magdolo, Μαγδώλος, according to the Itiner. Anton., twelve Roman miles from Pelusium, Copt. Meschtôl, Egypt. Ma'ktr, the most northerly place in Egypt; see on Eze 29:10) and Tahpanhes (i.e., Daphne, see on Jer 43:7), but also in more inland places, in Noph (i.e., Memphis, see on Jer 2:16) and the land of Pathros (lxx Παθούρης, Egypt. Petorees, i.e., Southland, viz., Upper Egypt, the Thebais of the Greeks and Romans; see on Eze 29:14). The word of the Lord runs as follows: -

Verses 2-14 Edit

Jer 44:2-14The warning and threatening. - "Thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Ye yourselves have been all the evil which I have brought on Jerusalem, and on all the cities of Judah; and, behold, they are a desolation this day, and there is no inhabitant in them; Jer 44:3. Because of their wickedness which they have done, by provoking me through going to burn incense, (and) to serve other gods whom they knew not, (neither) they (nor) ye, nor your fathers. Jer 44:4. And I sent unto you all my servants the prophets, rising early and sending (them), to say, Do not this abominable thing which I hate. Jer 44:5. But they did not hear, nor inclined their ear to turn from their wickedness, by not burning incense to other gods. Jer 44:6. Therefore my wrath and mine anger poured itself out, and burned up the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem; so that they have become a desolation and a waste, as at this day. Jer 44:7. Now therefore thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Why do ye great evil against your souls, by cutting off from yourselves man and women, child and suckling, out of the midst of Judah, so leaving no remnant for yourselves; Jer 44:8. Through provoking me by the works of your hands, burning incense to other gods in the land of Egypt, whither ye have gone to sojourn, that ye might bring destruction on yourselves, and that ye might become a curse and a reproach among all the nations of the

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earth? Jer 44:9. Have ye forgotten the evil deeds of your fathers, and the evil deeds of the kings of Judah, and the evil deeds of their wives, and your own evil deeds, and the evil deeds of your wives, which they committed in the land of Judah and on the streets of Jerusalem? Jer 44:10.They have not been contrite to this day, and are not afraid, nor do they walk in my law, and in my statutes, which I have set before you and before your fathers. Jer 44:11.Therefore thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will set my face against you for evil, and to cut off all Judah. Jer 44:12.And I will take the remnant of Judah, that have set their faces to go to the land of Egypt in order to sojourn there, and they shall all be consumed; in the land of Egypt shall they fall, by sword and famine shall they be consumed; small and great, by sword and famine shall they die, and they shall become an execration and an astonishment, and a curse and a reproach. Jer 44:13.And I will punish those who dwell in the land of Egypt, as I punished Jerusalem, by sword, and famine, and pestilence. Jer 44:14.There shall not be one escaped or left to the remnant of Judah that came to sojourn there in the land of Egypt, so as to return to the land of Judah, whither they long to return and dwell; for they shall not return except as escaped ones."

Verses 2-6 Edit

In order to make an impression on the people by his warning against idolatry, Jeremiah begins his address with a reference to the great calamity which the fathers have brought on the kingdom of Judah through their continued idolatry (Jer 44:2-6). "Ye have seen all the evil," etc.; all the cities are laid waste and depopulated, because their inhabitants have roused the anger of the Lord, and have not let themselves be dissuaded by the admonitions of the prophets whom God has sent. "This day," i.e., now, at present. On Jer 44:3, cf. Jer 11:17; Jer 19:4; Jer 32:32, etc.; and as to the meaning of קטּר, see on Jer 1:16. In Jer 44:3 the address becomes more direct, through the change into the second person, "ye;" the audience then present only continue these sins of their fathers. On Jer 44:4, cf. Jer 7:25; Jer 25:4, etc. דּבר התּעבה הזּאת, "the thing of this abomination," which is equivalent to "this abominable idolatry." דּבר serves to render the subject more prominent, as in Jdg 19:24. On Jer 44:6, cf. Jer 42:18; Jer 7:20. The wrath

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of God burned in the cities, for the fire of destruction was a manifestation of the divine wrath. As to כּיום הזּה, see on Jer 11:5.

Verses 7-14 Edit

In Jer 44:7-10 follows the application of what has been said to those present, who are asked how they come to continue in the old sins, to their own destruction, "doing evil in regard to your souls," i.e., for the injury, destruction of your souls, yourself; cf. Jer 26:19, where על־נ' stands for אל־נ'. This is immediately afterwards more exactly specified by 'להכרית וגו, to exterminate the whole of you, without an exception. As to the enumeration "man and woman," etc., cf. 1Sa 15:3; 1Sa 22:19. The infs. להכעיסני and לקטּר are used as gerundives: "inasmuch as (through this that) ye provoke me." For the expression "the works of your hands," see on Jer 1:16. In Jer 44:8, an object must be supplied from Jer 44:7 for the expression למען הכרית לכם; for, to take לכם (with Hitzig) in a reflexive sense is a very harsh construction. On 'לקללה וגו, cf. Jer 42:18; Jer 26:6. The answer to the question now asked follows in Jer 44:9 and Jer 44:10, in the form of the further question, whether they have forgotten those former sins, and that these sins have been the cause of the evil which has befallen the land. The interrogation expresses the reproach that they have been able to forget both, as is evidenced by their continuance in sin. In Jer 44:9, the expression "the evil deeds of his wives" (נשׁיו) is remarkable. Hitzig and Nägelsbach, following Kimchi, refer the suffix to the kings, since there was always but one king at a time. But this is an unnatural explanation; the suffix refers to Judah as a nation, and is used in order to comprehend the wives of the fathers and of the kings together. It is quite arbitrary in Ewald and Graf to change נשׁיו to שׂריו, following the lxx τῶν ἀρχόντων ὑμῶν; for these translators have mutilated the text by the omission of the following ואת רעתיכם. רעות נשׁיו is not merely conserved, but even required, by ואת רעת נשׁיכם. But the prophet gives special prominence to the evil deeds of the wives, since it was they who were most zealous in worshipping the queen of heaven; cf. Jer 44:15 and Jer 44:19. לא דכּאוּ, "they have not been crushed," viz., by repentance and sorrow for these sins. The transition to the third person is not merely accounted for by the fact that the subject treated of is the sins of the fathers and of the present generation, - for,

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as is shown by the expression "till this day," the prophet has chiefly his own contemporaries in view; but he speaks of these in the third person, to signify the indignation with which he turns away from men so difficult to reform. On the expression, "they had not walked in my law," cf. Jer 26:4; Jer 9:12. For this the Lord will punish them severely, Jer 44:11-14. All those who have fled to Egypt, with the intention of remaining there, will be quite exterminated. On "Behold, I will set my face," etc., cf. Jer 21:10. "For evil" is more exactly defined by "to cut off all Judah," i.e., those of Judah who are in Egypt, not those who are in Babylon. This limitation of the words "all Judah" is necessarily required by the context, and is plainly expressed in Jer 44:12, where "Judah" is specified as "the remnant of Judah that were determined to go to Egypt." לקחתּי has the meaning of taking away, as in Jer 15:15. ותמּוּ are to be taken by themselves; and בּארץ מצרים, as is shown by the accents, is to be attached to what follows, on which, too, the emphasis is placed; in like manner, 'בּחרב  are to be attached to the succeeding verb. The arrangement of the words, like the accumulation of sentences all expressing the same meaning, reveals the spirit of the address in which God vents His wrath. On "they shall become an execration," etc., see Jer 42:18. In Jer 44:13, Jer 44:14, the threatened extermination is further set forth. Those who dwelling Egypt shall be punished with sword, famine, and plague, like Jerusalem. The inhabitants of Egypt generally are meant; and by the judgment which is to fall on that country, the remnant of Judah there shall be so completely destroyed, that none shall escape. The leading member of the sentence is continued by ולשׁוּב, "and that they should return to the land of Judah, after which their soul longs, that they may live there." A reason is further assigned, and with this the address, reduced within becoming limits, concludes: "for there shall return none except (כּי אם) fugitives," i.e., except a few individual fugitives who shall come back. This last clause shows that we are not to understand the declaration "none shall escape" in the strictest meaning of the words. Those who escape and return to Judah shall be so few, in comparison with those who shall perish in Egypt, as to be quite inconsiderable. Cf. the like instance of a seeming contradiction in Jer 44:27, Jer 44:28. On נשּׂא את־נפשׁם, cf. Jer 22:27.

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Verses 15-19 Edit

Jer 44:15-19The answer of the people to this threatening address. - Jer 44:15. "Then all the men who knew that their wives burned incense to other gods, and all the women standing [there], a great multitude, and all the people who dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying, Jer 44:16. [As for] the word which thou hast spoken unto us in the name of Jahveh, we will not hearken unto thee: Jer 44:17. But we will certainly perform every word that has proceeded out of our own mouth, by burning incense to the queen of heaven, and pouring out libations to her, just as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem; and we were filled with bread, and became prosperous, and saw no evil. Jer 44:18. But since we ceased to offer incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out libations to her, we have been in want of everything, and are consumed by sword and famine. Jer 44:19. And when we [women] have been burning incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out libations to her, have we made cakes to her without our husbands, making an image of her, and offering libations to her?" To the word of the prophet the men and women oppose their pretended experience, that the adoration of the queen of heaven has brought them comfort and prosperity, while the neglect of this worship, on the other hand, has brought want and misfortune. No doubt they inferred this, by the argument post hoc, ergo propter hoc, from the fact that, after idolatry had been rooted out by Josiah, adversity had befallen the land of Judah; while, up till that time, the kingdom of Judah had been independent, and, for more than a century before, had been spared the suffering of misfortune. Thus, through their blindness, peculiar to the natural man, they had overlooked the minor transient evils with which the Lord visits His people when they sin. Not till near the end of Josiah's reign did misfortune fall on Judah: this was when the Egyptian army, under Pharaoh-Necho, marched through Palestine; Josiah was slain in the battle he had lost, the land was laid waste by the enemy, and its inhabitants perished by sword and famine. In Jer 44:15, those

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who are represented speaking are all the men who knew of their wives' idolatry, i.e., who permitted it, and all the women, "a great company," i.e., gathered together in great numbers, and all the rest of the people who lived in Egypt. The specification "in Pathros" is not in apposition to the words "in the land of Egypt," but belongs to the verb ויּענוּ; it tells where the gathering took place, viz., in a district of Upper Egypt. From the presence of a large number of women, we may conclude that the assembly was a festival in honour of the queen of heaven. The former portion of Jer 44:16 forms an absolute clause, from הדּבר to בּשׁם, "as regards the word which...we will not listen to thee," i.e., with regard to this word we obey thee not. The expression, "the word which has gone forth out of our mouth," points to the uttering of vows: cf. Num 30:13; Deu 23:24. 'כּל־הדּבר means "all that we have uttered as a vow," every vow to offer incense, etc., i.e., to present meat and drink offerings to the queen of heaven, - that shall we keep, fulfil, as we and our fathers have done in the land of Judah. On this mode of worship, cf. Jer 7:17., and the remarks there made. "And we were satisfied with bread," i.e., in consequence of this worship we had amply sufficient food. Towbiym טובים, "good," well, comfortable; cf. Jer 22:16. מן אז, "from that time" = since. תּמנוּ is for תּמּנוּ, from תּמם, as in Num 17:1-13 :28; cf. Ewald, §197, a. To this statement on the part of the men, the women further add, Jer 44:19, that they do not engage in this sacrificial worship or prepare the sacrificial cakes without their husbands, i.e., without their knowledge and approval. This is put forward by the women in the way of self-vindication; for, according to the law, Num 30:9., the husband could annul, i.e., declare not binding, any vow which had been made by his wife without his knowledge. Although it is women who are speaking, the masc. מקטּרים is used as being the gender which most commonly occurs; it also pretty often stands for the feminine. The inf. constr. וּלהסּך (with ל) is here employed, in conformity with later usage, instead of the inf. abs., for the finite verb, by way of continuation; cf. Ewald, §351, c, where, however, many passages have been set down as falling under this rule that demand a different explanation. The meaning of להעצבה is disputed; the

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final ה is a suffix, written with Raphe, though Mappik also occurs in some MSS. The Hiphil of this verb is found elsewhere only in Psa 78:40, and there in the signification of vexing, grieving, like the Piel in Isa 63:10; Psa 66:6. Ewald translates "in order to move her," i.e., make her well-disposed, - but quite arbitrarily, for to provoke is the very opposite of rendering propitious. The verb עצּב also signifies "to form, shape," Job 10:8; and in this sense the Hiphil is used here, "in order to put them into shape," i.e., to form the moon-goddess (queen of heaven) in or on the sacrificial cakes (Kimchi, Raschi, Dahler, Maurer, Graf, etc.). The sacrificial cakes (כּוּנים, see on Jer 7:18) probably had the form of a crescent, or even of the full moon, like the σελῆναι of the Greeks, which used to be offered in Athens at the time of the full moon in the month of Munychion, to Artemis, as goddess of the moon; cf. Hermann, gottesdienstliche Alterthümer der Griechen, 2 Ausg. S. 146, Anm. 13, u. S. 414.

Verses 20-22 Edit

Jer 44:20-22Refutation of these statements of the people. - Jer 44:20. "And Jeremiah spake to all the people, to the men and women, and to all the people that had given him answer, saying, Jer 44:21. Did not the incense-burning which he performed in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, ye and your fathers, your kings and your princes, and the people of the land-did not Jahveh remember them, and did it not arise in His mind? Jer 44:22. And Jahveh could no longer endure it, because of the wickedness of your deeds, because of the abominations which ye committed; thus your land became a desolation, and a waste, and a curse, without an inhabitant, as at this day. Jer 44:23. Because ye burned incense and sinned against Jahveh, and did not hearken to the voice of Jahveh, and in His law, in His statutes, and in His testimonies ye walked not; therefore this evil hath befallen you, as at this day." Jeremiah answers them that their idol-worship, by which they have provoked the Lord their God, is the very cause of the misfortune that has befallen them, because God could no longer endure this abomination which they would not forsake. הקּטּר is a noun, "the burning of incense," which includes, besides, all the other elements of idolatrous worship hence the word is resumed, at the close, under the plur. אותם, "these

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things." ותּעלה is 3rd pers. sing. neut., lit., "it has come into His mind," i.e., He has carefully considered it, and that in the way of punishment, for He could no longer endure such abomination. The imperf. יוּכל is used for the historic tense (imperf. with ו consec.), because the ו would necessarily be separated from the verb by the לא; and it is employed instead of the perfect, which we would be inclined to expect after the preceding זכר, since that which is treated of is something that endures for a considerable time; cf. Ewald, §346, b. On the expression "because of the evil," etc., cf. Jer 21:12; Jer 4:4, etc.; on the last clause in Jer 44:22, cf. Jer 44:6 and Jer 44:12.

Verse 23 Edit

Jer 44:23 is an emphatic and brief repetition of what has already been said. קראת is for קראה, as in Deu 31:29; cf. Gesenius, §74, note 1; Ewald, §194, b.

Verses 24-28 Edit

Jer 44:24-28Announcement of the punishment for this idolatry. - Jer 44:24. "And Jeremiah said unto all the people, and unto all the women, Hear the word of Jahveh, all of Judah that are in the land of Egypt; Jer 44:25. Thus saith Jahve of hosts, the God of Israel: Ye and your wives have both spoken with your mouth, and fulfilled it with your hands, saying, We will assuredly perform our vows which we have vowed, by burning incense to the queen of heaven, and by pouring out libations to her: ye will by all means perform your vows, and carry out your vows. Jer 44:26. Therefore hear the word of Jahveh, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt: Behold, I have sworn by my great name, saith Jahveh, truly my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah, saying, 'As the Lord Jahveh liveth,' in all the land of Egypt. Jer 44:27. Behold, I will watch over them for evil, and not for good; and all the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, till they are annihilated. Jer 44:28. And those who escape the sword shall return out of the land of Egypt to the land of Judah, a small number; and all the remnant of Judah, that went to the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall know whose word shall stand, mine or theirs. Jer 44:29. And this shall be the sign to you, saith Jahveh, that I will punish you in this place, that ye may know that my words shall surely rise up against you for evil: Jer 44:30.

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Thus hath Jahveh spoken, Behold, I will give Pharaoh-Hophra into the hand of his enemies, and into the hand of those who seek his life, just as I have given Zedekiah the king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, who was his enemy, and sought his life."
After refuting the false assertion of the people, Jeremiah once more announces to them, on behalf of God, in the most solemn manner, the punishment of extermination by sword and famine in Egypt; this he does for the purpose of giving the greatest possible emphasis to his warning against persevering in idolatry. For substance, this announcement is similar to that of Jer 44:11-14, but the expression is stronger. Even in the summary account of their offences, Jer 44:25, the words are so chosen and arranged as to bring out clearly the determination of the people to persevere in worshipping the queen of heaven. "As for you and your wives, ye have spoken with your mouth and fulfilled it with your hand" (on the Vav consec. attached to תּדבּרנה, cf. Ewald, §344, b), i.e., ye have uttered vows and then carried them out; for ye say, We must keep the vows that we have vowed. It is to be observed that the verbs תּדבּרנה, and in the concluding portion תּקימנה and תּעשׂינה, are feminine, since the address chiefly applies to the wives, who clung most tenaciously to idolatry. In the clause 'הקים תּקימנה וגו, "ye will make your vows and perform them," there is unmistakeable irony, in which the reference is to the wilfulness of the people in this idolatry. This ἑθελοθρησκεία is shown by the inf. abs. הקים, which strengthens תּקימנה. "To establish vows," i.e., to make them, was not a thing commanded, but left to one's free determination. Hence, also, no appeal to the maxim that vows which have been made or uttered must be fulfilled, can justify the making of the vows. The form תּקימנה for תּקמנה is an unusual one; and the י which the Hirik takes after it is occasioned by the form הקים; cf. Ewald, §196, c. - The announcement of the punishment is introduced by a solemn oath on the part of God. Jahveh swears by His great name, i.e., as the one who has shown Himself God by His mighty deeds - who has the power of keeping His word. The name is, of course, only a manifestation of His existence. אם as a particle used in swearing = certainly not. His name shall no more be named in the mouth

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of any Jew in the land of Egypt, i.e., be used in asseverations, because all the Jews in Egypt shall be exterminated. On the expression, "Behold, I will watch over them," etc., cf. Jer 31:28 and Jer 21:10. In Jer 44:28, it is more exactly stated that only a few individuals shall escape the sword and return to Judah; thus, no one shall remain behind in Egypt. By this judgment, all the remnant of Judah that went to Egypt shall find out whose word - Jahveh's or theirs - will endure, i.e., prove true. ממּנּי properly depends on דבר, "the word from me or from them" (the people).

Verses 29-30 Edit

In confirmation of this threatening, the Lord gives them another sign which, when it is fulfilled, will let them know that the destruction announced to them shall certainly befall them. The token consists in the giving up of King Hophra into the hand of his enemies. As certainly as this shall take place, so certainly shall the extermination of the Jews in Egypt ensue. The name חפרע is rendered Οὐάφρις in Manetho, in the classical writers  ̓Απρίης, Apriës, who, according to Herodotus (ii. 161), reigned twenty-five years, but nineteen according to Manetho (cf. Boeckh, Manetho, etc., p. 341ff.). His death took place in the year 570 b.c. This date is reached by a comparison of the following facts: - Cambyses conquered Egypt in the year 525; and in the preceding year Amasis had died, after a reign of forty-four years (Herod. iii. 10). Hence Amasis - who took Apriës prisoner, and gave him up to the common people, who killed him (Herod. ii. 161-163, 169) - must have commenced his reign in the year 570. On the death of Apriës, or Hophra, cf. the explanation given on p. 353f., where we have shown that the words, "I will give him into the hand of his enemies, and of those who seek his life," when compared with what is said of Zedekiah, "into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar his enemy," do not require us to assume that Hophra was killed by Nebuchadnezzar, and can very well be harmonized with the notice of Herodotus regarding the death of this king.
Hitzig and Graf have taken objection to this sign given by Jeremiah, and regard Jer 44:29, Jer 44:30 as a spurious vaticinium ex eventu, the work of another hand. The reasons they urge are, that it is scarcely possible Jeremiah could have lived till 570; that Jer 44:29. would be the only place where Jeremiah offered such

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a criterion; and that, even as it is, these verses contain nothing original, but, by their stiff and lifeless parallelism, are easily seen to be an artificial conclusion. Of these three arguments, the last can prove nothing, since it is merely a subjective opinion on an aesthetic point. The second, again, rather declares for than against the genuineness. For "if it were not Jeremiah's usual, elsewhere, to offer some criterion, then such an interpolation would have been all the more carefully avoided" (Nägelsbach). Of course we do not find any other signs of this kind in Jeremiah; but it does not follow from this that he could not offer such a thing in a special case. Yet the ground taken up by Nägelsbach, as sufficient to establish this position, seems quite untenable, viz., that the announcement of the fate in store for the king must have been the answer of the true God to the presumptuous boast of Apriës, mentioned by Herodotus, "that even God could not dethrone him, so firmly did he think he was established:" this view of the matter seems too remote from the object of Jeremiah's address. And finally, the first-named objection receives importance only on the supposition that "an event which was intended to serve as אות, a sign or criterion, must be something that was to happen immediately, or within a brief appointed period of time, so that a person might be able, from the occurrence of the one, to conclude that what had been foretold about a later period would as certainly take place" (Graf). But there are no sufficient grounds for this hypothesis. If no definite time be fixed for the occurrence of this sign, then it may not appear till a considerable time afterwards, and yet be a pledge for the occurrence of what was predicted for a still later period. That Jeremiah lived till the year 570 is certainly not inconceivable, but it is not likely that he uttered the prophecy now before us at the advanced age of nearly eighty years. Now, if his address is allowed to be a real prophecy, and not a mere vaticinium ex eventu, as Hitzig, looking from his dogmatic standpoint, considers it, then it must have been uttered before the year 570; but whether this was two, or five, or ten years before, makes no material difference. The address itself contains nothing to justify the assumption of Graf, that it is closely connected with the prophecy in Jer 43:8-13, and with the warning against the migration into Egypt, Jer 42.

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That the Jews spoken of had not been long in Egypt, cannot be inferred from Jer 44:8, Jer 44:12, and Jer 44:18; on the contrary, the fact that they had settled down in different parts of Egypt, and had assembled at Pathros for a festival, shows that they had been living there for a considerable time before. Nor does it follow, from the statement in Jer 44:14 that they longed to return to Judah, that they had gone to Egypt some months before. The desire to return into the land of their fathers remains, in a measure, in the heart of the Jew even at the present day. After all, then, no valid reason can be assigned for doubting the genuineness of these verses.
On the fulfilment of these threatenings Nägelsbach remarks: "Every one must be struck on finding that, in Jer 44, the extermination of the Jews who dwelt in Egypt is predicted; while some centuries later, the Jews in Egypt were very numerous, and that country formed a central point for the Jewish exiles (cf. Herzog, Real-Encycl. xvii. S. 285). Alexander the Great found so many Jews in Egypt, that he peopled with Jews, in great measure, the city he had founded and called after himself (cf. Herzog, i. S. 235). How did these Jews get to Egypt? Whence the great number of Jews whom Alexander found already in Egypt? I am inclined to think that we must consider them, for the most part, as the descendants of those who had come into the country with Jeremiah. But, according to this view of the matter, Jeremiah's prophecy has not been fulfilled." Nägelsbach therefore thinks we must assume that idolatrous worship, through time, almost entirely ceased among the exiled Jews in Egypt as it did among those in Babylon, and that the Lord then, in return, as regards the penitents, repented of the evil which He had spoken against them (Jer 26:13, Jer 26:19). But this whole explanation is fundamentally wrong, since the assertion, that Alexander the Great found so many Jews in Egypt, that with them mainly he peopled the city of Alexandria which he had founded, is contrary to historic testimony. In Herzog (Real-Encycl. i. S. 235), to which Nägelsbach refers for proof on the point, nothing of the kind is to be found, but rather the opposite, viz., the following: "Soon after the foundation of Alexandria by Alexander the Great, this city became not merely the centre of Jewish Hellenism in Egypt, but generally

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speaking the place of union between Oriental and Occidental Jews. The external condition of the Jews of Alexandria must, on the whole, be characterized as highly prosperous. The first Jewish settlers had, indeed, been compelled by Alexander the Great to take up their residence in the city (Josephus, Antt. xv. 3. 1); so, too, were other Jews, by Ptolemy I. or Lagi (ibid. xii. 2. 4). But both of these monarchs granted them the same rights and privileges as the Macedonians, including Greek citizenship; and in consequence of the extremely advantageous position of the city, it speedily increased in importance. A still larger number, therefore, soon went thither of their own accord, and adopted the Greek language." In this account, the quotation from Josephus, Antt. xv. 3. 1, is certainly incorrect; for neither is there in that passage any testimony borne to the measures attributed to Alexander, nor are there any other historical testimonies given from antiquity. But as little can we find any proofs that Alexander the Great found so many Jews in Egypt that he could, to a large extent, people with them the city he had founded. It is merely testified by Josephus (Antt. xi. 8. 5), and by Hecataeus in Josephus (contra Ap. i. 22; p. 457, ed. Haverc.), that Alexander had Jewish soldiers in his army; it is further evident, from a notice in Josephus, de bell. Jud. ii. 18. 7, contra Ap. ii. 4) cf. Curtius Rufus, iv. 8), that the newly founded city, even under Alexander, immediately after it was commenced, and still more under Ptolemy Lagi (cf. Josephus, Antt. xii. 1, and Hecataeus in Jos. contra Ap. i. 22, p. 455), attracted a constantly increasing multitude of Jewish immigrants. This same Ptolemy, after having subdued Phoenicia and Coele-Syria in the year 320, and taken Jerusalem also, it would seem, by a stratagem on a Sabbath day, transported many captives and hostages out of the whole country into Egypt; many, too, must have been sold at that time as slaves to the inhabitants of such a wealthy country as Egypt: see a statement in the book of Aristeas, at the end of Havercamp's edition of Josephus, ii. p. 104. In the same place, and in Josephus' Antt. xii. 1, Ptolemy is said to have armed 30,000 Jewish soldiers, placed them as garrisons in the fortresses, and granted them all the rights of Macedonian citizens (ἰσοπολιτεία). Ewald well says, History of the People of Israel,

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vol. iv. of second edition, p. 254: "When we further take into consideration, that, in addition to all other similar disasters which had previously befallen them, many Jews were removed to Egypt (especially by Ochus, after Egypt had been reconquered), we can easily explain how Ptolemy Philadelphus can be said to have liberated 100,000 Egyptian Jews. Aristeas' Book, p. 105." This much, at least, is proved by these various notices, - that, in order to understand how such a vast increase took place in the number of the Jews in Egypt, we do not need to regard them as the descendants of those who removed thither with Jeremiah, and so to question the fulfilment of the prophecy now before us. Jeremiah does not, of course, threaten with destruction all those Jews who live in Egypt, but only those who at that time went thither against the divine will, and there persevered in their idolatry. We do not know how great may have been the number of these immigrants, but they could hardly exceed two thousand, - perhaps, indeed, there were not so many. All these, as had been foretold them, may have perished in the conquest of Egypt by the Chaldeans, and afterwards, through the sword, famine, and pestilence; for the myriads of Jews in Egypt at the time of Ptolemy Lagi could easily have removed thither during the period of 250 years intermediate between the immigration in Jeremiah's time and the foundation of Alexandria, partly as prisoners and slaves, partly through voluntary settlement.

Chap. 45 Edit

Verses 1-4 Edit

Jer 45:1-4 "The word which Jeremiah the prophet spake to Baruch the son of Neriah, when he wrote these words in a book at the mouth of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying, Jer 45:2. Thus saith Jahveh, the God of Israel, to thee, O Baruch: V. 3. Thou saidst, Woe to me now! for Jahveh hath added sorrow to my pain: I am weary with sighing, and no rest do I find. V. 4. Thus shalt thou say unto him, Thus saith Jahveh: Behold, what I have built I will destroy, and what I have planted I will pluck up, and that is the whole earth. V. 5. And thou seekest great things for thyself: seek them not: for,

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behold, I will bring evil on all flesh, saith Jahveh; but I will give thy life unto thee for booty in all places whither thou shalt go."
From the superscription in Jer 45:1, it appears that this word of God came to Baruch through Jeremiah the prophet, in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim, when Baruch was writing out, or had written out, in a book-roll the prophecies that had been uttered by Jeremiah up till that time. It is not necessarily implied in the infin. בּכתבו that the word of God came during the transcription, while he was still engaged in writing: it may also mean, "when he was ready with the writing," had got done with it; and Hitzig is wrong when he rejects as "misleading" the view which Movers takes - "when he had written." The writing down of the addresses of Jeremiah in the year mentioned is related in Jer 36; ; thus the substance of this chapter and that of Jer 36 agree. "These words" can only be the addresses (words) of Jeremiah which Baruch was then writing down. From this, Hitzig, Graf, Nägelsbach, and others, infer that this small piece was the last in the copy of Jeremiah's prophecies originally prepared under Jehoiakim, - if not of the first one which was intended to be read in the temple, at least of the second copy which was made after the former one had been destroyed; and that it was only after the collection had been enlarged to the extent of the collection handed down to us, that this portion was affixed as an appendix to the end of the prophecies of Jeremiah which relate to his own country. But this inference is not a valid one. "These words" are the addresses of the prophet in general, which Baruch wrote down; and that only those which were uttered up to the fourth year of Jehoiakim are intended, is implied, not in the demonstrative "these," but in the date given afterwards, by which "these" is further specified. In Jer 45:1 it is merely stated that at that time the word of God, given below, came to Jeremiah, and through Him to Baruch, but not that Baruch wrote down this also on that occasion, and appended it to the roll of Jeremiah's prophecies which had been prepared at his dictation. It may have been written down much later, possibly not till the whole of Jeremiah's prophecies were collected and arranged in Egypt. Moreover, the position occupied by this chapter in the collection shows

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that this message of comfort to Baruch was added as an appendix to those predictions of Jeremiah which concern Judah and Israel.
The occasion for this message of comfort addressed to the prophet's attendant is pointed out in Jer 45:3, in the words which Baruch had uttered: "Woe to me! for Jahveh adds sorrow to my pain." Baruch felt "pain," i.e., pain of soul, at the moral corruption of the people, their impenitence and obduracy in sin and vice, just like the prophet himself, Jer 15:18. To this pain God adds sorrow, by threatening the judgment which shall fall on Judah for sin, and which was even then beginning to break over the land; cf. Jer 8:18. Baruch sighs over this till he is wearied, and finds no rest; cf. Lam 5:5. "I am weary with my sighing," is a reminiscence from Psa 6:7. This sorrow in addition to his pain was not caused in him for the first time by writing down the discourses of the prophet, but was rather thus freshened and increased. The answer of the Lord to this sighing is of a stern character, yet soothing for Baruch. The sentence of destruction has been determined on. What the Lord has built He will now destroy: it is not said why, since the reason was sufficiently known from the prophet's utterances. As to the expression in Jer 45:4, cf. Jer 1:10; Jer 31:28. The destruction regards the whole earth, היא  ואת־כּל־הארץ, lit., "and as regards the whole earth, it is it," namely that I destroy. On the employment of את in introducing the subject, cf. Dan 9:13; Hag 2:5, and Ewald, §277 d. כּל־הארץ does not mean "the whole land," but "the whole earth:" this is indubitably evident from the parallel "upon all flesh," Jer 45:5, i.e., the whole of humanity, as in Jer 25:31. The sentence is passed on all the earth, in accordance with the announcement made in Jer 25:15.

Verse 5 Edit

But when the judgment extends over the whole of humanity, an individual man cannot ask for anything great. "To seek for great things," i.e., to ask for things which in general or under certain circumstances are unattainable (cf. Psa 131:1), is here used with reference to worldly prosperity. When the whole world is visited with judgment, an individual man must not make great demands, but be content with saving his life. This is promised to Baruch in Jer 45:5, to alleviate his pain

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and sorrow. "To give life to any one for booty," means to let him escape with his life; cf. Jer 21:9; Jer 38:2; Jer 39:18. In the words, "in all places whither thou shalt go," it is intimated that he will be obliged to avoid destruction by flight, but will thereby save his life. IV. Prophecies Directed Against Foreign Nations - Jeremiah 46-51
Like Amos, Isaiah, and Ezekiel, Jeremiah has uttered predictions concerning a number of heathen nations, and incorporated them with the collection of his prophecies regarding Judah and Israel. But while in Amos the utterances regarding six nations round about the kingdom of God, as representatives of the whole heathen world, merely pave the way for announcing judgment on Judah and Israel, and are given for the purpose of teaching the necessity for judgment on the whole world that is opposed to God, in order that the kingdom of God may be advanced; Isaiah, on the other hand, when the power of Assyria appeared against the kingdom of God, brought forward the thought, in a pretty long series of oracles against the nations, Jer 13-23, that all kingdoms and peoples, cities and men of the world that had apostatized from God, and still continued in apostasy, shall be humbled, and compelled by judgments inflicted on them to seek refuge with the God of Israel, - to submit to Him, and to offer their gifts for the establishment of His kingdom; and he concludes this announcement with an apocalyptic description of the judgment on the whole earth, and the consummation of the kingdom of God in glory, Jer 24-27. The object aimed at by Ezekiel and Jeremiah in their oracles against the heathen nations is more specific. Ezekiel, in view of the destruction of Jerusalem and the kingdom of Judah, directs a series of oracles against seven nations; and in these addresses he predicts the destruction of the heathen world, and the fall of all heathen powers into Sheol, in order that these may not exult over the fall of the people of God, but rather, in the judgment on Israel, recognise the omnipotence and justice of the Lord, the Judge of all the earth. And Jeremiah, in his addresses to the nations, Jer 46-51,

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merely brings out more fully the execution of that sentence which he had already proclaimed (Jer 25) to all the peoples and kingdoms of the earth, shortly before the appearance of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon in the fourth year of Jehoiakim's reign. The multitude of nations and tribes, far and near, to which, in Jer 25:17-26, he gives the cup of the divine wrath out of Jahveh's hand, is in Jer 46-51 reduced to nine nations; and these are named in such order, that here, as there (Jer 25), ), Egypt heads the list (Jer 46), ), while Babylon closes it (Jer 50; 51). Of the rest of these nations, those related to Israel, viz., Moabites, Ammonites, and Edomites, have special prophecies addressed to them, Jer 48 and Jer 49:1-22; but the others are more summarily addressed. Thus, in the oracle pronounced against the Philistines, the Phoenicians also (Tyre and Sidon) are threatened with extermination (Jer 47:1-7); the many Arabian tribes severally named in Jer 25 are comprehended under the general designations "Kedar" and "the kingdoms of Hazor" (Jer 49:28-33); while the kingdoms of the north are represented by Damascus (Jer 49:23-27), and the distant nations of the east (Media and Elam) by Elam, Jer 49:34-39.
Ewald, Hitzig, Graf, and Nägelsbach would account for several smaller nations being taken together in one prophecy, on the ground that the prophet wished to make out the significant number seven, - just as Amos (Amos 1:1-2:5) brings forward seven kingdoms before his address is directed to Israel, and as Ezekiel also has arranged his prophecies against the nations in accordance with the number seven. But though the number seven plainly appears in Amos and Ezekiel, such an assumption cannot be established in the case of Jeremiah. To make out this number, the oracles against Elam and Babylon are viewed as later additions, on the ground that both of them are connected with the first years of the reign of Zedekiah. But the assertion that the first seven belong to the fourth year of Jehoiakim cannot be proved. The second prophecy regarding Egypt (Jer 46:14-28), and that against the Philistines (Jer 47:1-7), contain, in their headings, indications of the time of composition, which do not point to the fourth year of Jehoiakim. With this also accords the remark further brought to bear on the alleged

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composition of those seven prophecies in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, - that this follows, not merely from the general agreement of their contents with Jer 46 as well as with Jer 25, but also from the fact that "the same expressions which the prophet uses in Jer 25 with reference to the judgment of all nations, are re-echoed in Jer 46-49:33: e.g., cf Jer 25:31, Jer 25:34, with Jer 46:10; Jer 25:35 with Jer 46:5-6; Jer 25:29, Jer 25:31, with Jer 47:6-7; and particularly Jer 25:28-29, with Jer 49:12 (Caspari on Obadiah, p. 16): cf. also Jer 25:27 with Jer 48:26; Jer 25:30 with Jer 48:33; Jer 25:34 with Jer 49:20; Jer 25:38 with Jer 49:19 and Jer 46:16." For, of all these passages, none belongs to the second prophecy against Egypt (Jer 46:14-28), and to that against the Philistines (Jer 47:1-7), except the last-quoted passage, Jer 46:16, in which the expression חרב  agrees with Jer 25:38, if in the latter passage we read חרב for חרון. But this expression is also repeated in the oracle against Babylon, Jer 50:16; so that no proof can be drawn, from a consideration of the language employed, to show that the prophecies against Egypt (Jer 46:14-28) and against the Philistines (Jer 47:1-7) belong to the same time, as has been supposed. And the assertion that the prophecy against Elam forms an appendix to those which precede, could have been made only by a mind in a state of perplexity. Its position, after that against the Arabian tribes, and before that against Babylon, exactly agrees with the place occupied by Elam in Jer 25:5.[13]

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When we examine the contents of these nine oracles, we find that the one against Babylon differs from all the preceding in this, that it announces not merely the ruin of Babylon, but also the salvation of Israel; but this peculiarity is the very point in which it agrees with the prophecies against Egypt, of which the second ends with a promise in Israel's favour (Jer 46:27-28). This correspondence shows us that we cannot separate the prophecy regarding Babylon from the others, or even place it in contrast with them. Egypt and Babylon were, at that time, the two great powers of this world which sought to oppress and destroy the kingdom of God. The fall of one or the other of these powers was thus for Israel a pledge that they would be preserved and saved. In the remaining oracles, the reference to the theocracy is quite placed in the background. Only in that against Ammon do we meet with the complaint that it had taken possession of the cities of Israel, as if Israel had no heir (Jer 49:1). In the others there is no mention made of offence against the theocracy, but only of pride, arrogance, and carnal reliance on their earthly power, for which they shall be humbled and punished. Further, it is to be observed that the oracles against Egypt, Moab, Ammon, and Elam conclude with the promise of restoration at the end of the days, i.e., in the Messianic future (cf. Jer 46:26; Jer 48:47; Jer 49:6 and Jer 49:39). All these things plainly show that these oracles against the people merely repeat, in greater detail, the sentence already pronounced, Jer 25, against all nations: God the Lord has appointed the king of Babylon to execute this sentence, and for this end will give him, in the immediate future, and till his appointed time shall end, supremacy over the nations; after that, Babylon also shall

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succumb to the sentence of ruin passed on it; and for Israel, with the deliverance from Babylon, there will arise a state of prosperity in which all nations will afterwards participate. In giving details with regard to these announcements of judgment, Jeremiah throughout falls back on the expressions of the older prophet, just as he does in his prophecies regarding Israel and Judah; these expressions he reproduces in a manner suited to the circumstances of his time, and still further developes. Cf. the collection of these references in Kueper on Jeremiah, p. 79ff.; see further the proofs given in the following commentary on each particular case.

Chap. 46 Edit

Verses 1-2 Edit

Jer 46:1-2Superscriptions. - Jer 46:1 contains the title for the whole collection of prophecies regarding the nations (הגּוים, as contrasted with Israel, mean the heathen nations), Jer 46-51. As to the formula, "What came as the word of Jahveh to Jeremiah," etc., cf. the remarks on Jer 14:1. - In Jer 46:2, the special heading of this chapter begins with the word מצרים .למצרים is subordinated by ל to the general title, - properly, "with regard to Egypt:" cf. למואב, etc., Jer 48:1; Jer 49:1, Jer 49:7,Jer 49:23, Jer 49:28, also Jer 23:9. This chapter contains two prophecies regarding Egypt, Jer 46:2-12, and vv. 13-28. למצרים refers to both. After this there follows an account of the occasion for the first of these two prophecies, in the words, "Concerning the army of Pharaoh-Necho, the king of Egypt, which was at the river Euphrates, near Carchemish, which Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah." נכו, as in 2Ch 35:20, or נכּה, as in 2Ki 23:29, in lxx Νεχαώ; Egyptian, according to Brugsch (Hist. d'Egypte, i. p. 252), Nekaaou; in Herodotus Νεκώς, - is said by Manetho to have been the sixth king of the twenty-sixth (Saïte) dynasty, the second Pharaoh of this name, the son of Psammetichus I, and grandson of Necho I. Brugsch says he reigned from 611 to 595 b.c. See on 2 Chr. 23:29. The two relative clauses are co-ordinate, i.e., אשׁר in each case depends on חיל. The first clause merely states where Pharaoh's army was, the second tells what befall it at the Euphrates. It is to this that the following prophecy refers. Pharaoh-

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Necho, soon after ascending the throne, in the last year of Josiah's reign (610 b.c.), had landed in Palestine, at the bay of Acre, with the view of subjugating Hither Asia as far as the Euphrates, and had defeated the slain King Josiah, who marched out against him. He next deposed Jehoahaz, whom the people had raised to the throne as Josiah's successor, and carried him to Egypt, after having substituted Eliakim, the elder brother of Jehoahaz, and made him his vassal-king, under the name of Jehoiakim. When he had thus laid Judah under tribute, he advanced farther into Syria, towards the Euphrates, and had reached Carchemish on that river, as is stated in this verse: there his army was defeated by Nebuchadnezzar, in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim (606 b.c.); see on 2Ki 23:29. Carchemish is Κιρκήσιον, Circesium, or Cercusium of the classical writers,[14]
Arabic karqi=si=yat, a fortified city at the junction of the Chebar with the Euphrates, built on the peninsula formed by the two rivers (Ammian. Marc. xxiii. 5, Procop. bell. Pers. ii. 5, and Marasç. under Karkesija). All that now remains of it are ruins, called by the modern Arabs Abu Psera, and situated on the Mesopotamian side of the Euphrates, where that river is joined by the Chebar (Ausland, 1864, S. 1058). This fortress was either taken, or at least besieged, by Necho. The statement, "in the fourth year of Jehoiakim," can be referred exegetically only to the time of the defeat of the Egyptians at Carchemish, or the year of the battle, and is actually so understood by most interpreters. No one but Niebuhr (Gesch. Ass. u. Babl. S. 59, 86, 370ff.) alters the date of the battle, which he places in the third year of Jehoiakim, partly from consideration of Dan 1:1, partly from other chronological calculations; he would refer the date given in our verse to the time when the following song was composed or published. But Dan 1:1 does not necessarily require us to make any such assumption (see on that passage), and the other chronological computations are quite uncertain. Exegetically, it is as impossible to insert a period after "which Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon smote" (Nieb. p. 86, note 3), as to

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connect the date "in the fourth year of Jehoiakim" with "which word came to Jeremiah" (Jer 46:10). The title in Jer 46:1 certainly does not refer specially to the prophecy about Egypt, but to על־הגּוים. But if we wished to make the whole of Jer 46:2 dependent on 'אשׁר היה דבר , which would, at all events, be a forced, unnatural construction, then, from the combination of the title in Jer 46:1 with the specification of time at the end of Jer 46:2, it would follow that all the prophecies regarding the nations had come to Jeremiah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, - which would contradict what is said in the heading to the oracle against Elam (Jer 49:34), not to mention the oracle against Babylon.
Moreover, there is nothing to prevent us from assuming that the first prophecy against Egypt was revealed to Jeremiah, and uttered by him, in the same fourth year of Jehoiakim in which Necho was defeated by Nebuchadnezzar. In this way, the argument brought forward by Niebuhr in support of his forced interpretation, viz., that all specifications of time in the addresses of Jeremiah refer to the period of composition, loses all its force. In Jer 45:1 also, and in Jer 51:9, the time when the event occurred coincides with the time when the utterance regarding it was pronounced. Although we assume this to hold in the case before us, yet it by no means follows that what succeeds, in Jer 46:3-12, is not a prophecy, but a song or lyric celebrating so important a battle, "the picture of an event that had already occurred," as Niebuhr, Ewald, and Hitzig assume. This neither follows from the statement in the title, "which Nebuchadnezzar in the fourth year of Jehoiakim smote," nor from the contents of the succeeding address. The superscription does not naturally belong to what Jeremiah has said or uttered, but must have been prefixed, for the first time, only when the address was committed to writing and inserted in the collection, and this not till after the battle had been fought; but it is evident that the address is to be viewed as substantially a prophecy (see Jer 46:6 and Jer 46:10), although Jeremiah depicts, in the most lively and dramatic way, not merely the preparation of the mighty host, Jer 46:3, and its formidable advance, Jer 46:7-9, but also its flight and annihilation, in Jer 46:5 and in Jer 46:10-12.

Verses 3-4 Edit

Jer 46:3-4"Prepare shield and target, and advance to the battle. Jer 46:4. Yoke the horses [to the chariots]; mount the'

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steeds, and stand with helmets on; polish the spears, put on the armour. Jer 46:5. Why do I see? they are terrified and turned back, and their heroes are beaten, and flee in flight, and do not turn: terror is round about, saith Jahveh. Jer 46:6. Let not the swift one flee, nor let the hero escape; towards the north, by the side of the river Euphrates, they stumble and fall. Jer 46:7. Who is this that cometh up like the Nile? his waters wave like the rivers. Jer 46:8. Egypt cometh up like the Nile, [his] waters are moved like the rivers; and he saith, I will go up, I will cover the earth; I will destroy the city, and those who dwell in it. Jer 46:9. Go up, ye horses; and drive furiously, ye chariots; and let the heroes go forth; Cushites and Phutites, bearing the shield; and Lydians, handling [and] bending the bow. Jer 46:10. But that day [belongs] to the Lord Jahveh of hosts, a day of vengeance for avenging Himself on His enemies: and the sword shall devour and be satisfied, and shall drink its fill of their blood; for the Lord Jahveh of hosts holdeth a slaying of sacrifices in the land of the north at the river Euphrates. Jer 46:11. Go up to Gilead, and take balsam, O virgin, daughter of Egypt: in vain hast thou multiplied medicines; cure there is none for thee. Jer 46:12. The nations have heard of thine ignominy, and thy cry hath filled the earth: for heroes stumble against heroes, both of them fall together."
This address falls into two strophes, Jer 46:3-6 and Jer 46:7-12. In both are depicted in a lively manner, first the advance of the Egyptian host to the battle, then their flight and destruction. The whole has been arranged so as to form a climax: in the first strophe, the admirable equipment of the armies, and their sudden flight and defeat, are set forth in brief sentences; in the second, there is fully described not merely the powerful advance of the host that covers the earth, but also the judgment of inevitable destruction passed on them by God: the reason for the whole is also assigned. Jer 46:3. In order to represent the matter in a lively way, the description begins with the call addressed to the army, to make ready for the battle. "Make ready shield and target," the two main pieces of defensive armour. מגן was the small [round] shield; צנּה, scutum, the large shield, covering the whole body. "Advance to the fight," i.e., go forward

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into the battle. Then the address turns to the several portions of the army: first to those who fight from chariots, who are to yoke the horses; then to the horsemen, to mount the steeds. פּרשׁים are not horsemen, but riding-horses, as in 1Ki 5:6; 1Ki 10:26; Eze 27:14. עלה is construed with the accus., as in Gen 49:4. The rendering given by Dahler and Umbreit, "Mount, ye horsemen," and that of Hitzig, "Advance, ye horsemen," are against the parallelism; and the remark of the last-named writer, that "Mount the steeds" would be רכבוּ, does not accord with 1Sa 30:17. Next, the address is directed to the foot-soldiers, who formed the main portion of the army. These are to take up their position with helmets on, to polish the spears, i.e., to sharpen them, and to put on the pieces of armour, in order to be arrayed for battle. מרק, to rub, polish, remove rust from the spear, and thereby sharpen it. סריון, here and in Jer 51:3 for שׁריון, a coat of mail, pieces of armour.

Verses 5-7 Edit

Thus well arrayed, the host advances to the fight; but suddenly the seer perceives the magnificent army terror-stricken, retreating, and breaking out into a disorderly flight. The question, "Why (wherefore) do I see?" points to the unexpected and incomprehensible turn in the progress of events. המּה חתּים is not an accus. dependent on ראיתי, but an independent clause: "What do I see? They are terror-stricken" (חתּים, terrified, broken-spirited through terror). יכּתּוּ, Hoph. from כּתת, to be broken, here and in Job 4:20 applied to persons. מנוס is added to the verb instead of the inf. abs., to give emphasis to the idea contained in the word; cf. Ewald, §281, a. מגור מסּביב .a , "horror, terror around" (cf. Jer 6:25), is taken by Ewald as the reply of Jahveh to the question, "Wherefore is this? On every side there is danger;" and this is appropriately followed by the imperatives in Jer 46:6, "Let no one, then, attempt to flee; not one shall escape to Egypt, but they must fall at the Euphrates." The perfects כּשׁלוּ ונפלוּ are prophetic; the stumbling and falling are as certain as if they had already happened. The second strophe commences at Jer 46:7. The description begins anew, and that with a question of astonishment at the mighty host advancing like the Nile when it bursts its banks and inundates the whole country. יאר is the name of the Nile, taken from

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the Egyptian into the Hebrew language; cf. Gen. 41ff., Exo 1:22, etc. התגּעשׁ, dash about (Jer 5:22), wave backwards and forwards: the Hithpa. is here interchanged with the Hithpo. without any difference of meaning.

Verses 8-9 Edit

Jer 46:8-9 brings the answer to the question of astonishment: "Egypt approaches, its hosts cover the land like the waves of the Nile, to destroy cities and men." On the form  אבידה (with א contracted from אא), cf. Ewald, §192, d; Gesenius, §68, Rem. 1. עיר is used in an indefinite general sense, "cities," as in Jer 8:16. - In Jer 46:9, the imperat. stands as in Jer 46:3.: "Let the formidable army approach, - cavalry, chariots, and infantry, with all their splendidly equipped auxiliaries, - nevertheless it shall perish." עלוּ הסּוּסים does not here mean "Mount the steeds," which is against the parallelism, but "Get up (i.e., prance), ye horses;" this meaning is guaranteed by the Hiphil מעלה, as used in Nah 3:3. התהללוּ הרכב is an imitation of Nah 2:5. As auxiliaries, and very brave ones too (גבּורים), are mentioned "Cush," i.e., the Ethiopians; "Phut," the Libyans; and "Ludim," i.e., Hamitic, African Lydians, as in Eze 30:5. On the double construct in תּפשׂי דר, "holding, bending bows," cf. Ew. §280, c.

Verse 10 Edit

This formidable army shall perish; for the day of the battle is the day of the Lord of hosts, on which He will take vengeance upon His enemies. Among these enemies are the Egyptians, who have grievously sinned against Israel, the people of the Lord, not merely of late, by making war upon and killing King Josiah, by carrying away Jehoahaz, and making Jehoiakim his vassal, but also from the earliest times. For this, Egypt is now to be brought low. The sword shall devour and be refreshed by drinking the blood of the Egyptians. For the Lord is preparing for a slaying of sacrifices (זבח) in the north, at the Euphrates. Isa 34:6 forms the basis of these words.

Verses 11-12 Edit

The blow which shall there come on the Egyptians is one from which they shall never recover, and the wound shall be one not to be healed by any balm. As to the balm of Gilead, see on Jer 8:22; on רפאות and תּעלה, see Jer 30:13. "Virgin daughter of Egypt" is equivalent to virgin-like people of Egypt, i.e., not hitherto forced, but now ravished, violated, so that all nations shall hear of the dishonour done them, and their cry shall fill the whole earth, for (as at the conclusion,

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the threat is added by way of confirmation) all the heroes of Egypt stumble and fall. גּבּור בּגבּור, "hero against hero," i.e., one against another, or over the others, as usually happens in a flight where confusion reigns; cf. Jer. 26:37.

Verse 13 Edit

The second prophecy regarding Egypt, with a message for Israel attached to it, was uttered after the preceding. This is evident even from the superscription, Jer 46:13 : "The word which Jahveh spake to Jeremiah the prophet of the coming of Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon to smite the land of Egypt." The formula, "The word which," etc., agrees with that in Jer 50:1; and דּבר, in contrast with היה, the word usually met with in headings, perhaps means that this prophecy, like that concerning Babylon, was not uttered in public by Jeremiah, but only written down. לבוא is used in reference to the coming of Nebuchadrezzar to smite the land. Graf puts down this heading as an addition, not made till a late edition of the prophecies was brought out, and even then added through a mistake on the part of the compiler. In support of this, he urges that the announcement in Jer 46:14-26 does not form an independent prophecy, but merely constitutes the second portion of the description given in Jer 46:3-12 of the defeat of the Egyptians. But the ground assigned for this view, viz., that if this prophecy formed a separate and distinct piece, written at another time, then Jeremiah would have predicted the conquest of the other countries, Philistia, Moab, Ammon, etc., in consequence of the battle of Carchemish; and as regards Egypt, would have contented himself with a triumphal song over its fall - which is in itself unlikely: this argument is utterly null. It has no meaning whatever; for Jer 46:3-12 contain, not a triumphal song over a defeat that had already taken place, but a prophecy regarding the defeat about to take place. To this the prophet added a second prophecy, in which he once more announces beforehand to Egypt that it shall be conquered. In this way, more is foretold regarding Egypt than the neighbouring countries, because Egypt was of much greater consequence, in relation to the theocracy, than Philistia, Moab, etc. According to the superscription, this second prophecy refers to the conquest of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar. According to Jer 37:5, this did not

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take place so long as Zedekiah was king; and according to Jer 43:8., it was foretold by Jeremiah, after the destruction of Jerusalem, when the Jews were fleeing to Egypt after the murder of Gedaliah. From this, one might conclude, with Nägelsbach, that the piece now before us is contemporaneous with Jer 43:8. But this inference is not a valid one. The threat uttered in Jer 43:8. of a conquest to befall Egypt had a special occasion of its own, and we cannot well regard it in any other light than as a repetition of the prophecy now before us, for the Jews; for its contents seem to show that it was composed not long after that in Jer 46:3-12, or soon after the defeat of the Egyptians at Carchemish. This address also falls into two strophes, Jer 46:14-19 and Jer 46:20-26, while Jer 46:27, Jer 46:28 form an additional message for Israel. The line of thought is this: Egypt may arm herself as she chooses, but her power shall fall, and her auxiliaries shall flee (Jer 46:14-16). Pharaoh's fall is certain; the enemy shall come in force, and turn all Egypt into a desert (Jer 46:17-19). The destroyer comes from the north, the mercenaries flee, and the enemy hews down countless hosts of men like trees in a forest (Jer 46:20-23). Egypt will be given into the hand of the people out of the north; for Jahveh will punish gods, princes, and people, and deliver up Egypt to the king of Babylon. But afterwards, Egypt will again be inhabited as it was before (Jer 46:24-26). On the other hand, Israel need fear nothing, for their God will lead them back out of their captivity (Jer 46:27, Jer 46:28).

Verse 14 Edit

Jer 46:14"Tell ye it in Egypt, and make it to be heard in Migdol, and make it be heard in Noph and Tahpanhes: say, Stand firm, and prepare thee; for the sword hath devoured around thee. Jer 46:15. Why hath thy strong one been swept away? he stood not, for Jahveh pushed him down. Jer 46:16. He made many stumble, yea, one fell on another; and they said, Arise, and let us return to our own people, and to the land of our birth, from before the oppressing sword. Jer 46:17. They cried there, Pharaoh the king of Egypt is undone; he hath let the appointed time pass. Jer 46:18. As I live, saith the King, whose name is Jahveh of hosts, Surely as Tabor among the mountains, and as Carmel by the sea, shall he come. Jer 46:19. Prepare thee things for exile, O daughter dwelling in'

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Egypt: for Noph will become a desolation, and be destroyed by fire, without an inhabitant."
Like the last prophecy, this one also begins with the summons to arms (Jer 46:14), in order to prepare the way for the description given immediately afterwards of the defeat (Jer 46:15.). The summons to make the proclamation is addressed to some persons not named, who are to announce through the country, particularly in the frontier towns and in the northern capital of Egypt, that the foe, in his devastating career, has advanced to the borders of the land. This is evident from the clause which states the reason: "The sword hath devoured what lay round thee." Regarding Migdol, i.e., Magdolos, and Tahpanhes, i.e., Daphne, the two frontier towns in the north, and Noph, i.e., Memphis, the northern capital of the kingdom, see on Jer 2:16 and 54:1. התיצּב, to take up one's position for the fight; cf. Jer 46:4. סביביך, "thy surroundings," are the frontier countries, but especially those on the north, - Judah, Philistia, Edom, - since the enemy comes from the north. However, we cannot with certainty infer from this, that by that time the kingdom of Judah had already fallen, and Jerusalem been laid waste. Immediately after Necho had been vanquished at the Euphrates, Nebuchadnezzar marched after the fugitive foe, pursuing him as far as the borders of Egypt; hence we read, in 2Ki 24:7, "The king of Egypt went no more out of his land; for the king of Babylon had taken all that had belonged to the king of Egypt, from the river of Egypt to the river Euphrates." Even at that time, in the fourth and fifth years of Jehoiakim, it could be said, "His sword hath devoured the countries contiguous to Egypt." And Nebuchadnezzar was prevented on that occasion from advancing farther, and penetrating into Egypt itself, only by hearing of his father's death at Babylon, in consequence of which he was compelled to return to Babylon as speedily as possible, for the purpose of assuming the reins of government, and to let his army with the prisoners follow him at their leisure (Berosus in Josephus, contra Ap. i. 19).

Verse 15 Edit

The prophet in spirit looks on the power of Egypt as already broken. This is shown by the question of astonishment, מדּוּע נסחף אבּיריך, which has been variously rendered. אבּירים .deredner ylsuoirav neeb sa, "strong ones," is

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used in Jer 8:16; Jer 47:3, and Jer 50:11, of stallions, but elsewhere as an epithet of bulls, especially the strong bulls of Bashan; see on Jer 8:16. In the present passage the reference may be to the mighty men of war, who do not maintain their position (Chald. and most of the old interpreters); the verb in the singular forms no sufficient objection to this view, the irregularity being due to the fact that the verb precedes its subject see Ewald, §316, t; Gesenius, §147]. It is more difficult to combine with this the singulars of the verbs עמד and הדפו which follow; these, and especially the suffix in the singular, appear to indicate that אבּידיך really refers to a noun in the singular. But the form of this noun seems against such a view; for the words adduced in support of the position that singular nouns sometimes assume plural suffixes, are insufficient for the purpose: thus, תּהלּתיך, Psa 9:15, and שׂנאתיך, Eze 35:11, are plainly nouns in the singular. And in support of the averment that, in pausal forms with Segol, the י is a mere mater lectionis, only כּפּיך, Pro 6:1, can be adduced: the other instances brought forward by Hitzig fail to establish his position. For איביך, Deu 28:48, may be plural; בּיני, Gen 16:5, is far from being a case in point, for the preposition often takes plural suffixes; and even in the case of חסידיך, Psa 16:10, the י is marked in the Qeri as superfluous; most codices, too, rather give the form חסידך. But even in the verse now before us, many codices, according to Kennicott and de Rossi, read אבּירך, so that the word should perhaps be taken as a singular. The singulars, however, which occur in the following clauses do not form conclusive proofs of this, since they may be taken in a distributive sense; and more generally the address often suddenly changes from the plural to the singular. In connection with the possibility of taking אבּיריך as a singular, the paraphrase of the lxx deserves mention and consideration, ὁ μόσχος ὁ ἔκλετός σου, to which a gloss adds ὁ But we cannot agree with Kennicott, J. D. Michaelis, Ewald, Hitzig, Graf, and Nägelsbach, in holding this as certainly the correct rendering; nor can we give to אבּיר the sense of "bull," for this meaning is not made out for the singular simply because the plural is used of strong bulls: this holds especially in Jeremiah, who constantly applies the plural

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to strong steeds. Still less ground is there for appealing to the fact that Jahveh is repeatedly called אבּיר ישׂראל or אבּיר יעקוב, Gen 49:24, Isa 1:24; Isa 39:1-8 :26 etc.; for this epithet of Jahveh (who shows Himself in or towards Israel as the Mighty One) cannot be applied to the helpless images of Apis. In Psa 68:31, אבּירים means "strong ones" - bulls as emblems of kings. If the word be used here with such a reference, it may be singular or plural. In the former case it would mean the king; in the latter, the king with his princes and magnates. Against the application of the word to the images of Apis, there is the fact that Apis, a symbol of Osiris, was neither the only nor the chief god of Egypt, but was worshipped nowhere except in Memphis (Herodotus, ii. 153); hence it was not suited to be the representative of the gods or the power of Egypt, as the context of the present passage requires.

Verse 16 Edit

As the mighty one of Egypt does not stand, but is thrust down by God, so Jahveh makes many stumble and fall over one another, so that the strangers return to their own home in order to escape the violence of the sword. The subject of ויּאמרוּ is indefinite; the speakers, however, are not merely the hired soldiers or mercenaries (Jer 46:11), or the allied nations (Eze 30:5), but strangers generally, who had been living in Egypt partly for the sake of commerce, partly for other reasons (Hitzig, Graf). As to חרב היּונה, see on Jer 25:38.

Verses 17-19 Edit

In Jer 46:17, "they cry there" is not to be referred to those who fled to their native land; the subject is undefined, and "there" refers to the place where one falls over the other, viz., Egypt. "There they cry, 'Pharaoh the king of Egypt is שׁאון, desolation, destruction, ruin:' " for this meaning, cf. Jer 25:31; Psa 40:3; the signification "noise, bustle," is unsuitable here.[15]

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The meaning of העביר המּועד also is disputed; it is quite inadmissible, however, to join the words with שׁאון, as Ewald does, for the purpose of making out a name. No suitable meaning can be extracted from them. Neither שׁאון nor המּועד can be the subject of העביר; the translation given by Schnurrer, "devastation that goes beyond all bounds," is still more arbitrary than that of Ewald given in the note. Since the Hiphil העביר is never used except with a transitive meaning, the subject can be none else than Pharaoh; and the words העביר המּועד must be intended to give the reason for this becoming a desolation: they are thus to be rendered, "he has allowed המּועד to pass by," not "the precise place," as Rosenmüller explains it ("he did not stop in his flight at the place where the army could be gathered again, on the return"), but "the precise time." The reference, however, is not to the suitable time for action, for self-defence and for driving off the enemy (Grotius, C. B. Michaelis, Maurer, Umbreit), because the word does not mean suitable, convenient time, but appointed time. As Hitzig rightly perceived, the time meant is that within which the desolation might still be averted, and after which the judgment of God fell on him (Isa 10:25; Isa 30:18), - the time of grace which God had vouchsafed to him, so that Nebuchadnezzar did not at once, after the victory at Carchemish, invade and conquer Egypt. Pharaoh let this time pass by; because, instead of seeing in that defeat a judgment from God, he provoked the anger of Nebuchadnezzar by his repeated attacks on the Chaldean power, and brought on the invasion of Egypt by the king of Babylon (see above, p. 354). -

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In Jer 46:18. there is laid down a more positive foundation for the threat uttered in Jer 46:17. With an oath, the Lord announces the coming of the destroyer into Egypt. Like Tabor, which overtops all the mountains round about, and like Carmel, which looks out over the sea as if it were a watch-tower, so will he come, viz., he from whom proceeds the devastation of Egypt, the king of Babylon. the power of Nebuchadnezzar, in respect of its overshadowing all other kings, forms the point of comparison. Tabor has the form of a truncated cone. Its height is given at 1805 feet above the level of the sea, or 1350 from the surface of the plain below; it far surpasses in height all the hills in the vicinity, ad affords a wide prospect on every side; cf. Robinson's Phys. Geogr. of Palestine, p. 26f. Carmel stretches out in the form of a long ridge more than three miles wide, till it terminates on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, as a bold, lofty promontory, which rises in an imposing manner at least 500 feet above the sea; cf. Robinson, p. 26f. Then the inhabitants of Egypt will be driven into exile. כּלי גולה .e, "vessels of wandering;" outfit for an exile, as in Eze 12:3. "Daughter of Egypt" is not a personification of the country, whose inhabitants are the people, but of the population, which is viewed as the daughter of the country; it stands in apposition to יושׁבת, like בּתוּלת בּת מצרי, Jer 46:11. For Noph, i.e., Memphis, the capital, is laid waste and burned, so as to lose its inhabitants. With Jer 46:20 begins the second strophe, in which the fate impending on Egypt is still more plainly predicted.

Verses 20-26 Edit

Jer 46:20-26"Egypt is a very beautiful young heifer; a gadfly from the north comes - comes. Jer 46:21. Her mercenaries, too, in her midst, are like fatted calves; for they also turn their backs, they flee together: they do not stand, for the day of her destruction is some on her, the time of her visitation. Jer 46:22. Its sound is like [that of] the serpent [as it] goes; for they go with an army, and come against her with axes, like hewers of trees. Jer 46:23. They cut down her forest, saith Jahveh, for it is not to be searched; for they are more numerous than locusts, and they cannot be numbered. Jer 46:24. The daughter of Egypt is disgraced; she is given into the hand of the people of the north. Jer 46:25. Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel, saith, Behold, I will visit Amon of No, and Pharaoh, and Egypt, her gods, and her

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kings; Pharaoh, and all those who trust in him. Jer 46:26. And I will give them into the hand of those who seek their life, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and into the hand of his servants; but afterwards it shall be inhabited, as in the days of old, saith Jahveh."

Verse 20 Edit

In Jer 46:20 the address begins afresh, in order to carry out further, under new images, the description of the desolation already threatened. Egypt is a very beautiful עגלה; this feminine is chosen with a regard to "the daughter of Egypt." יפה־פיּה is an adjective formed from the Peal of יפה, "very beautiful," not "coquetting" (Hitzig, who follows the κεκαλλωπισμένη of the lxx). A very beautiful heifer is the people when carefully and abundantly fed in their beautiful and fertile land (Hitzig). Upon this heifer there comes from the north קרץ. This ἁπ. λεγ. is variously rendered. קרץ means, in the Hebrew, to pinch, nip (Job 33:6), to compress together, as in winking (Psa 35:19), to bring the lips closely together (Pro 16:30), and to nip off; cf. Arab. qaras[a to pinch, nip, cut off. Hence A. Schultens (Orig. Heb. ii. 34ff.), after Cocceius, and with a reference to Virgil, Georg. iii. 147, has rendered קרץ by morsus vellicans oestri. Hitzig (with whom Roediger, in his additions to Gesenius' Thesaurus, agrees) takes Arab. qârṣ , insectum cimici simile as his warrant for rendering it by oestrus, "the gadfly," which gives a more suitable meaning. Ewald, on the contrary, compares קרץ with Arab. qrs], and translates it "whale," a huge sea-monster; but this is quite arbitrary, for קרץ does not correspond to the Arabic qrs], and the whale or shark does not afford any figure that would be suitable for the context: e.g., Jer 46:21, "her mercenaries also flee," shows that the subject treated of is not the devouring or destruction, but the expulsion of the Egyptians out of their land; this is put as an addition to what is said about exile in Jer 46:19. Still less suitable is the general rendering excidium, destruction (Rabbins, Gesenius, Umbreit); and there is no lexical foundation for the Vulgate translation stimulator, nor for "taskmaster," the rendering of J. D. Michaelis and Rosenmüller. The old translators have

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only made guesses from the context. The figure of the gadfly corresponds to the bee in the land of Assyria, Isa 7:18. The repetition of בּא gives emphasis, and points either to the certainty of the coming, or its continuance.

Verse 21 Edit

The mercenaries, also, of the daughter of Egypt, well fed, like fatted calves, betake themselves to flight. שׂכרים are "mercenaries," as distinguished from the allies mentioned in Jer 46:9. It was Carians and Ionians through whom Psammetichus attained the supremacy over all Egypt: these had settled down in στρατόπεδα of their own, between Bubastis and Pelusium, on both banks of the eastern arm of the Nile (Herodotus, ii. 152, 154), and were very well cared for, since the king relied on them (Herod. ii. 152, 163). Hence the comparison with fatted calves, which, moreover, are co-ordinated with the subject, as is shown by the resumption of the subject in גּם המּה. כּי stands in the middle of the sentence, with an asseverative meaning: "Yea, these also turn their back, they flee together, do not stand; for the day of their destruction is come." "The day of their destruction" is used as in Jer 18:17. On "the time of their visitation" (which stands in apposition to the preceding expression (cf. Jer 11:23; Jer 23:12 : it is not an accusative of time (Graf), for this always expresses the idea of continuance during a space of time.